Popular UK bed bank lowcostbeds is moving into the U.S. travel agent market, and throughout the month of April the company will offer a 15 percent introductory commission. Travel Agent sat down with Clem Walshe, managing director of lowcostbeds.us, to find out more about what advisors can expect from the new service.
“We launched the U.S. website back in the second week of February, and since then we’ve added over 1,000 travel agents,” Walshe says. Many of those are home-based travel agents, and the company plans a series of events and webinars tailored to home-based agents soon.
Additionally, Travelport Rooms and More has added lowcostbeds.us to its accommodation portal, a move that added over 90,000 properties to Travelport’s database.
Walshe also emphasized the 24/7 support agents can expect when using the service. “When we launched in Ireland, we had a campaign that ran, ‘If you go it alone, you’re on your own,’” he says.
In terms of properties, Walshe says about 30 percent of the site’s 150,000 de-duplicated hotels are in the U.S. and that 75 percent of its inventory is three stars or better. The portal also has transfer services in more than 450 global gateways. The company has appointed a dedicated product team and U.S. buyers to expand its selection of accommodations.
In addition to the 15 percent commission, agents also have the option of choosing booking at net rates. This option is useful in case agents want to set their own rates below what would be possible at the 15 percent commission level in competitive environments, Walshe says.
The site offers a search and book feature that can filter on various criteria, including destination, date, brand or chain, price point and rating. Property descriptions are available to help the agent familiarize herself with the main selling points of a particular property. The site also offers an XML operation for integration with a net or gross feed.