Agents need to encourage clients to turn over their direct bookings

We all have to explain compensation frequently [Reality Check: "The largest elephant in our room," March 26]. Even my good clients will sometimes respond to the barrage of brochures and email ads and call for information only to have that easily turn into a booking.

My best clients then tell me what they've done and give me the reservation number. I'll call the supplier and say my clients want their booking turned over to me. When they've made a booking on a cruise we're usually notified, but asking people certainly increases my commissions.  

I think agents need to be proactive and tell clients that when they make a direct booking to not be shy about asking us to take it over and look out for their interests. I do tell them that the company is happy to turn it over to agents, as they have commission money in their budget.   

I had a client who was sure she had booked directly with Disney and asked me to take over her family vacation, giving me all the details. When I called Disney, I learned that the reservation number she gave was made by an online agency which sounded like [Disney] but was not, and they could not change it without that agency's approval. I called them, but of course they would not release it. My good client felt it was her mistake and she would have to go along with it, when all she would have had to do was cancel with them and I could have rebooked the whole thing.

Amy Ferrell
Travel Depot
Sarasota, Fla.

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