If you are a travel
agent or an airline rep working on an override program, this
article is for you. The major airlines are working on new domestic
programs for 2005. Rumors, leaks from the airlines and wild
conjecture have the agency community wondering what changes will be
At this time no one
knows. One thing is certain: Change is on the way.
I am fortunate to
consult with many agencies getting overrides. I get to see the pros
and cons of each airlines program. Lets review the programs from
the airlines side first.
Here are elements
of the programs that legacy airlines should review if they are to
expect high performance in the future:
feedback from agencies before releasing new programs. This makes it
a joint effort.
Train agents how
to sell and to swing market share to a particular
Turn data around
faster, allowing agencies to manage their program. They cant manage
bookings that occurred three to five months ago.
expected market share to agencies before the quarter begins. They
cant work with a phantom scoreboard.
Never make sales
calls to a travel agencys corporate account without the agency
being present. Trust is the core of a relationship.
Pay agencies for
all fares booked and not just certain buckets.
programs have little to do with todays competitive situation. Take
the last point, for example. No airline should be thinking of
paying only for the higher classes of service and not paying for
in the domestic marketplace are no longer in abundance. Low-cost
carriers are the ones dictating the fares and are well on their way
to representing 35% of domestic market share.
community will have just as hard a time selling cheap seats as they
will high-yield tickets. The lower-fare scenario will occur more
often and will total more dollars. If agencies are not rewarded,
they will sell a low-cost rival airline and the market-share shift
will be accelerated in favor of the new guys.
This is not the
place to debate this issue. Airlines should start talking to
agencies that have override programs and request their
succeed on their own. If they are to survive, they must work
closely with agencies that know how to swing share. It is time to
create long-term partnerships with them to restrain the onslaught
of low-cost carriers. Its a great investment.
is an industry consultant, trainer and speaker. He can be contacted
at (919) 557-3844 or by e-mail at [email protected].