Travel Agent told you last week about Barcelo Hotels & Resorts’ new partnership with commission-free website, AboutAnywhere.com and received a lot of comments from upset agents. Agents obviously felt slighted by Barcelo’s decision to partner with a website looking to cut agents out of the commission process.
To be fair, we reached out to Barcelo, who gave us a written statement proving their loyalty to agents despite this new partnership. Here’s just an excerpt from that statement:
“Barceló Hotels & Resorts has been in business for 75 plus years and has built their business model around sustainable relationships with frontline sales force, mainly retail travel agents,” said Claudio A. Zboznovits vice president of sales and marketing USA/Canada. "In the U.S. and Canada, our sales and marketing efforts are highly concentrated within the travel agent community. Approximately 85 percent of our business comes from our tour operator partners with a vast majority stemming from travel agent bookings.
“Effective November 2008, we launched the B Partner program, Barceló's first ever travel agent loyalty program for North America, rewarding travel agents with easily obtainable complimentary hotel stays. For the introductory year, Barceló has reduced perks needed for redemption in half, resulting in what we feel is the most lucrative hotel stay compensation rewards program currently in the U.S. and Canadian markets. While on the website you can learn more about Barceló Hotels & Resorts with links to useful resources such as e-brochures that help ensure that travel agents have the necessary tools to maintain and grow their client base.”
We will post the full response on our new community site, AgentNation.