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Africa Adventure Academy - your helping hand in sustainable and responsible tourism development

How to Work efficiently with Travel Agents

To increase your chance of building a strong relationship with travel agents it is vital to communicate with the "right" contact person and to build a relationship. Only send personalized emails to the travel agent to build a relationship and a partnership and keep the following in mind:
  • Make sure that you know their market. Do they have high end clients looking for 5 star establishments or do they cater to families or more budget type of travelers.
  • Point out key selling points of your property by providing a comprehensive fact sheet leaving an open space for the agent to fill in their contact details. Travel agents find fact sheets useful especially if they can add in their contact details to send to their clients.
  • Clearly state the meal plan on the rate or fact sheet eg does it include breakfast only or is it a room only rate. If it's a room only rate advise what the cost of the breakfast will be.
  • Another great selling point is to specify if the establishment offer halaal and vegetarian meals.
  • Travel Agents rely on fast clear responses to close a sale timeously to their clients.
  • An online booking tool for agents to log in is a great seller to motivate the agent to sell or promote your property. The portal should allow the agent to book or place the room on hold for a few days which will give the agent time to collect payment from their client and pay online using the NETT amounts.

Understand rates, commission, STO and NETT rates

1. The RETAIL or Rack Rate - This is what the guest pays you
2. The NETT Rate - This is the rate the travel agent pays you

There are two ways of quoting rates to travel agents:

1. Commission in % of your Retail Rate
2. STO Rate (Standard Tour Operator) - a special rate sheet for travel agents

Avoid the following mistakes when dealing with travel agents

1. Not to have clear rate sheets with booking terms and conditions e.g. Refund policies, will a deposit secure the room or should it be full payment; can the rate be offered over peak seasons. Avoid confusion as in most cases the travel agent will need to pay in from their own pockets for mistakes.
2. Offer your best NETT rates to all travel agents across the board (be selective and offer better rates once booking volumes increases).
3. Avoid giving online travel websites cheaper or better rates than offered to the Travel Agents. Travel agents hate the words... ' I can get it cheaper online. 

Encourage travel agents to send feedback received from guest to you. It is also a good idea to send travellers feedback to travel agents. This practice will help both the establishment and the agent. Remember a complaint should also be seen as a gift. Encourage guest to complete a guest comment card or to add a review online.

Not a member of Africa Adventure?

If you provide quality services to travellers within the listed countries of sub-saharan Africa and agree to adhere to our code of conduct including relevant government & travel industry regulations as well as all statutory requirements you are welcome to apply for membership to Africa Adventure.

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