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Study Explores Agents' Use of Fees and TechnologyFebruary 24, 2011 By: George Dooley
On average, 25 percent of bookings are made online by travelers. Of those travelers, 16 percent subsequently need agent assistance, according to the results of a new corporate agency survey from ASTA and The Beat. The findings illustrate just how differently large and small corporate agencies function and the competitive advantages they offer companies seeking to manage their travel expenses, according to ASTA.
"We found that larger corporate agencies charge a lower fee for many transactions such as air bookings, while smaller corporate agencies charge less for many of the extra management functions a company may desire in order to control costs," said Chris Russo, ASTA president and chair. "As this study is the only one to examine the corporate travel agency marketplace from the agency perspective, the results of it and future surveys will no doubt provide key data to corporate travel agencies to assist them in operations."
ASTA and The Beat conducted this survey to provide insight into contracts, fees and technology use among corporate travel agencies, as well as to gauge the desire of corporate agencies in developing data for comparison, according to the association. The Corporate Agency Report, which breaks data out according to company size, covers transaction fee versus management fee contracts, and examines the services that trigger additional fees and what agencies charge for those services.
Additionally, the survey looked at online booking, use of mobile solutions and management software used. Among the survey’s other key findings:
• Seventy percent of agencies offer their clients some form of mobile solutions software.
• On average, 25 percent of bookings are made online by travelers. Of those, 16 percent subsequently need agent assistance.
• A transaction fee-based contract with commission retention is most common client agreement.
• For agencies that typically return commissions, air and air overrides are the most returned commission types.
• Large agencies and small agencies have different results when negotiating incentives with airlines.
• Most agencies include PNR creation and ticket issuance with the initial fee, while a ticket exchange will trigger an additional fee.
• Average fees charged by agencies in the past year point to the additional cost of manual assistance.
• Agencies typically charge extra fees for assistance with personal travel and visa/passport assistance.
• The average fee charged for additional services varies widely based on the service.
• Larger agencies charge more for additional services related to travel management.
• Concur is the most commonly used online booking tool, while Trams is the software most used software by agencies for management reports.
• Almost all agencies handle meetings and events management for clients often or sometimes.
ASTA said it is seeking input from corporate agencies, members and non-members, on expanding the survey planned for Fall 2011. To provide comments or learn more, contact Melissa Teates, ASTA’s director of research, at [email protected]
A copy of the full report is available for sale: ASTA travel agent members pay $99; ASTA supplier members pay $349; non-members pay $549. Visit www.ASTA.org.