Travel agencies are keen to assist airlines in distributing ancillary services through the GDS if the process is more streamlined and less-time consuming, reveals Travelport’s global airline merchandising survey.
Travelport found that one of the main gripes among agencies is the current process takes up 29% more time, and this is one area they would like to see improved..
The survey, conducted with 610 travel agencies in 12 countries worldwide, also highlights the challenges travel agents face in the selling of these services, amid their own pressures to grow revenues, reduce costs and increase productivity.
The unbundling of fares and services in recent years has seen the growth of ancillary products such as checked baggage, meals, lounge passes and upgrades.
Only 16% of respondents saw unbundling as an opportunity to charge or increase fees, while 44% percent said they did not impose additional charges for booking optional services.
Presently some services are available through the GDS while others are sold via airline websites or by phone. The findings revealed a strong demand for a single aggregated source of information and sales capability.
About 70% of respondents listed the GDS listed as the most preferred channel to book and sell optional services.
Eighty-four percent of the respondents were interested in having the GDS assist them in accommodating the offering of unbundled services.
The majority of agencies (77%) are currently booking additional services for their customers, with just 8% not offering these services. Reasons cited for not offering these services varied, with agents in Europe reporting that ‘it doesn’t generate any additional revenues’ (41%), while 33% of agents in America said “most services are not available for agency booking”.
Respondents indicated their preference for branded fares, which are bundled, with optional services, such as preferred seat assignments, as they would enable them to offer a full service to clients, as well as allow them to stay competitive with airline websites.