This year so far looks to be a good one for travel agents, if a recent hotel bookings report from CCRA Travel Solutions is any indication.
The company, which operates a hotel reservations portal with preferred rates at hotels worldwide, is reporting a 28.2% jump in international hotel room nights and a 13.9% increase in domestic room nights booked this year over the same time last year.
Dic Marxen, president and CEO, says the growth is “significant” and indicates that the economy is strengthening and CCRA has succeeded in its marketing and expansion efforts.
“For the past 18 months, the main focus of CCRA has been on our CCRA Global Network expansion efforts, which have included developing relationships with large international agencies and agency consortia while also significantly increasing the number of international hotels in our program.”
More international hotels in the program means that CCRA can offer more room nights and at more competitive rates, he said. New to CCRA are Design Hotels, NH Hotels, Guoman Thistle Hotels and expanded product from Carlson Rezidor and Accor.
In late September, CCRA introduced refundable net rates to agents through www.ccratravel.com. Since then, there's been a 67% surge in bookings in that net rate category, which allows rooms to be canceled without penalty, based on individual hotels’ policies. Agents can set their own markups on the discounted rates and “still offer their clients highly competitive pricing,” he said.
In December, CCRA started an agent blog focused on helping agents become more successful in selling hotels in the system. The blog features travel tips, agent success stories and a “Wednesday Rewards” contest.
Marxen said that home-based agents can gain benefits from CCRA's offerings “since we offer independent agents access to the CCRATravel.com booking portal with no membership fee — which provides home-based agents with real-time rates and availability at over 180,000 hotels worldwide.”