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ASTA has released its sixth annual Supplier-Travel Agent Marketing Report. Among the key findings were that 94 percent of respondents ranked “reputation/quality of product” as the most important factor when selecting a preferred supplier. This was also true when selecting a supplier at “point of sale.” The study provides a six-year trend on supplier relationships and travel agency booking channels by market segment.
“Savvy travel advisors understand that a satisfied client is a repeat client, so when it comes to working with preferred suppliers, agents look to those with the best reputation and product line,” said ASTA president and chair Nina Meyer. “Studies such as ASTA’s Supplier-Travel Agent Marketing Report provide travel agents and suppliers with a better understanding of each other’s needs and a guide to how to best work together for mutual benefit.”
The report found that a strong relationship between suppliers and travel agencies is vital if both sides want to increase sales. A recurring theme in the survey results is the desire of agencies to acquire useful information about products. In most cases, that information is needed to determine the quality of the product as well as to help agents sell the product to their clients. Suppliers that provide the needed information in the best formats have an advantage.
Among the survey’s other findings, use of preferred suppliers was highest for the tour (88 percent), travel insurance (86 percent) and cruise (82 percent) segments; GDSs remain the top booking vehicles for airlines (58 percent), hotels (41 percent) and cars (55 percent); and 48 percent of agencies find incentive programs to be “moderately effective.”