The current situation in which there is a near-complete shutdown of travel agency sales notwithstanding, German travel agents have released what the trade publication Touristik Aktuell called “the top demands from the counter”—an acknowledgement of the importance of the tradition-bound role of the retail travel agent who works at the counter in the brick-and-mortar agencies that are probably more of a fixture than in Germany than in any other national travel market of continental Europe.
And, by virtue of this market reality, it is something that U.S.-based receptive tour operators should always keep in mind when selling Visit USA product to Germany, which is the seventh largest source market (based on the latest year-to-date international arrival data from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Travel and Tourism Office (NTTO).
According to results of the survey by the QTA travel cooperative, travel agencies agreed that:
—There should be a minimum commission of ten percent on sales; and
—Elimination of minimum turnover provisions.
The two points above were two of the ten frequently mentioned requests and demands from the QTA alliance partner offices. The alliance had asked its offices in advance for upcoming discussions with the tour operators to share their most important demands as part of a survey. Following are the full Top 10.
1. At least ten percent basic commission. The QTA has already taken a first step in this context with TUI. As part of the new collective agreement, TUI grants travel agencies that have signed the contract a basic commission of ten percent.
2. The waiver of minimum sales.
3. Financial compensation for free cancellations. According to QTA, this is particularly important to the offices and also a consequence of the unpaid overtime work in recent months.
4. Multi-year commission models. They should provide more planning security with terms of at least two years.
5. Transfer commission payments when booking or at the latest for customer payments.
6. Better training concepts.
7. Greater participation and greater say in the organizers – be it in the form of advisory boards or idea pools.
8. Demand for support from the organizers in the introduction of service and consulting fees without affecting the commissions.
9. Easy booking of Quality Plus.
10. The continued existence of discounts for travel agents.
The QTA now wants to work on these ten points together with the organizers. The aim of the QTA project is to put partner travel agencies on a more stable economic foundation. “With the demands we have received a clear order from our travel agency partners for future negotiations with the tour operators,” QTA officials said in a statement.
According to QTA, the demands submitted are being used to meet the travel agencies’ legitimate request for changes and to create a new basis for fair cooperation between stationary sales and tour operators as partners in a common industry.