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Vacation.com Offers Air-Booking AlternativeMarch 15, 2010 By: George Dooley
Vacation.com reports it is helping member agents safeguard their clients’ information from online competitors with EZair, the air-booking functionality for its comprehensive leisure sales platform, EZguider. EZair provides non-GDS agents with a safe haven to make a profit on air bookings without exposing vital client information to competitors, Vacation.com says.
According to a recent survey by Forrester Research, one-third of travel agents make their clients' air bookings online through a supplier or online travel agency. Such sites collect personal information, such as mailing and email addresses, credit card numbers and demographics, which they can then use to market travel services directly to the client without involving the travel agent.
“I’m surprised so many agents take this risk and provide their customers’ names and contact information online,” said Steve Tracas, Vacation.com’s president and CEO. “Once the online company has this vital information, nothing precludes them from marketing directly to an agent’s client. Vacation.com, being a travel agent organization, offers a solution that retains the client information with the agency of record and only the agency of record.”
Available through EZguider, EZair allows registered member agents to make stand-alone and add-on bookings from more than 500 airlines worldwide from a traditional GDS feed, but without a GDS contract, monthly fees or productivity goals. Through EZair, member agents can add a service fee to the transaction as well as earn commissions of up to 23 percent from preferred air suppliers such as Virgin Atlantic, Air New Zealand and Mexicana.
“EZair provides a more viable long-term business strategy for agents by offering an in-house, end-to-end solution, where agents can profitably make the air booking themselves, versus handing off critical client information to a competitor,” added Tracas.
EZair complements existing functionality within EZguider, a powerful Web-based tool for member agents to quickly compare similar products from multiple suppliers on one screen. EZguider users can shop, quote and book from 12 major cruise lines, preferred tour operators and third-party insurance providers, along with hundreds of airlines—all integrated into one passenger record and invoice while interfacing with Trams back-office system.
Currently, Vacation.com member agents are earning up to an additional $2.00 incentive beyond their normal supplier commission for each qualified booking made through EZguider during 2010.