TMG brokers Kristina Parkinson Sue Mist, Anita Gatley TMG brokers Kristina Parkinson Sue Mist, Anita Gatley

Clients accepting fees as travel ‘goes nuts’ – transparency the key

Brokers and agents are reporting that a fee-driven structure to their business is being readily accepted by most clients – as long as there is clarity around charges.

Sandra Ivelja, of So Travel and a member of NZ Travel Brokers, says she has a schedule of fees which she emails to customers before any work is done.

She says clients realise they could do things cheaper on the internet but value the extra service and security she brings as their travel advisor.

‘It is another form of insurance for travellers through complicated times. Clients know they can get me 24/7, if someone has a problem at 3am (NZ time) I am there to advise and help sort things out.

‘That kind of service can’t come for free any more, the whole travel agent model has to change. I think clients understand that and as long as you are transparent there should be no problems.’

Travel Managers Group (TMG) broker Kristina Parkinson is reporting strong business and says half of it is coming from new clients who are looking for a dedicated and skilled travel agent.

‘They are prepared to pay fees, they are booking now and they want to get on with it. That’s a necessity because capacity is tight and many of them have credits they want to use up.’

NZ Travel Broker Michele Cadman says business is a real mixture. ‘We have people wanting to go next week and other people looking to travel next year.’

Sarah Gaffney, of TMG, sums the current situation up by saying ‘we’ve had two years of nothing and now its’ gone nuts. People are going everywhere but mostly its Europe and USA, as well as a few cruises.

‘We’ve started charging fees, we’ve got to set a precedent and this is a perfect time to reset. We’re creating a new travel advisory environment and it’s time to value ourselves.’

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