Get with the override program

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John DaltonIf your agency currently has airline override programs, its time for a review. Before you know it, clients will be booking flights departing in first-quarter 2005, and you may not have your new program.

Will payouts for overrides again be based on market share? Will they change to revenue only? How about a combination of both?

There is too much at stake for airlines and agencies not to finalize the objectives as quickly as possible. 

Here are the aspects of the programs your agency should review before entering into a new agreement:

  • Set your standards higher by no longer accepting that you made the override, but that you will achieve the highest payout level available every quarter. Dont leave any money on the table by hitting at 2% or 3%. Take every dollar offered to you.

  • Dont work with too many airlines. Maximize your performance and payout with one or two airlines. This way you will generate more revenue than by having multiple agreements and earning 1%, 2% or zero working with a variety of carriers. 

  • Learn to measure and manage your market share in house on a daily basis.

  • Inform the airlines that you require monthly feedback so you may better manage your performance. You cant manage archaic information.

  • Ask airlines to provide sales training programs that will help your travel agents more effectively swing share.

  • Ask for the expected market share, based on your past performance, for the next quarter.

  • Request joint calls that include you, your corporate accounts and the airline to discuss programs that will differentiate the airline from its competitors and provide win-win situations for everyone involved. It is time for creativity. The current override programs are being attacked by the low-cost carriers and have less impact and value than they once had.

  • Show airlines that trends are changing and clients are requesting low-cost carriers more each day. That is why you should be financially rewarded for booking all fares in all classes of service.
  • Time is running out. Contact your preferred airline(s), provide input and create a more meaningful partnership than in the past.

    The legacy airlines and the performing travel agencies need each other more than ever. The override programs are a vital ingredient in warding off the low-cost airlines.

    John Dalton is an industry consultant, trainer and speaker. He can be contacted at (919) 557-3844 or by e-mail at [email protected].

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