ABC Global Services is poised for growth. Included is the 30 plus year old travel firm’s launch of its ezBook site, expansion of its Premier Hotel Program and a 50 percent additional commission for a limited time on ezBook, along with a proven commitment to service the needs of travel agents - including independent contractors.
“We have long enjoyed strong support from the agency community, including both corporate and leisure agents and agencies of all sizes. And with last year’s launch of our ezBook capability we are serving agents with a diversity of products worldwide,” Cynthia Kropp, executive vice president, marketing and business development, told Travel Agent.
Kropp sees ABC Global Services adding value to travel agents – from technology to access to a huge inventory of hotel properties, to education and training - especially for the independent agent - and a strong service oriented professional staff. "We have had a 30 year commitment to agents.”
ezBook, among the most recent examples of ABC’s commitment, provides agents with a complete and easy-to-use hotel booking portal with immediate access to a global inventory, multiple rates and commission options giving agents buying power. It also delivers valuable amenities and high-end service.
Kropp notes that ABC has passed the 31,000 mark in the Premier Hotel Program, serving 7,900 agency locations in 79 countries with hotel revenues approaching $1 billion. Six million room nights were booked last year. “Our market clout gives agents a real competitive advantage.”
Kropp’s colleague, Patti Free, vice president, business development, said ABC understands the competitive challenges faced by agents, including the effective use of technology such as ezBook to simplify booking, generate revenues and give agents attractive, salable product for their clients.
“Our one-stop hotel booking tool features the most robust search capabilities in the industry, making it fast and easy for travel professionals to find the best fit and value for their unique clients from an inventory of more than 200,000 hotel options,” Free said.
As ezBook offers the flexibility of varied rates and commissions, travel agents can increase their earning potential. In addition, ABC handles the time-consuming task of collecting commissions, Free says.
ezBook is free and supports the leisure and business markets for all travel professionals, including home-based agents. It offers more than 200,000 hotel options, including: GDS content, discount rooms from online travel agencies (OTAs), net rate inventory and more.
ezBook provides agents with the ability to perform easy price comparisons by all rate types that help agents to secure the best value for their customers and earn better commissions, ABC notes. It also includes multiple price points from economy to deluxe, as well as all hotel categories - full-service, boutique, resort, extended stay, budget and more.
ezBook offers commissionable, net and pre-paid rates and the option of adding service fees as well as commission markups. GDS rates include the ABC Premier Hotel Program, ABC’s Premier Privileges luxury hotel program and ABC ezXtras – providing amenities for additional savings. Free noted that travel advisors are charging their clients service fees in about 35 percent of ezBook bookings.
Cruise selling agents also find ezBook’s search, filtering and sorting functionality useful, Free notes. This enables agents to find a specific hotel based on multiple criteria, including proximity to port facilities, convention centers and airports.
Also searchable are star ratings, price, distance and amenities. Agents can also map, view photos and obtain hotel overviews within ezBook. The new engine features a real-time online reporting capability with a download option.
Underscoring ABC Global Services’ growth the company reports that it hit a milestone with 31,705 hotels in its Premier Hotel Program. This represents year-over-year record growth of close to ten percent from the same time last year. It also is increasing its global reach, adding 510 new cities to its inventory last year.
ABC also reports that more than half of the hotels that are part of the company’s hotel program offer up to 20 percent off of the Best Available Rate (BAR), in addition to valuable amenities, block space, ABC perks and other complimentary services.
Both Free and Kropp are travel industry veterans who stress the importance of outreach to agents, including networking and training opportunities across the country. This year ABC plans “UpClose with ABC” events in Boston, Chicago and San Francisco and is inviting independent agents to attend.
Last but not least, Free and Kropp expect to expand ABC’s partnerships both on the hotel and distribution side. This week, for example, a new partnership with MAST Travel Network, which has nearly 200 agency members, was announced.
“ABC Global is committed to expanding our relations with agents consortia, host agencies and associations, continuing strong pro-agent partnerships that strengthen professional agents and travel distribution,” Kropp said.