There can’t be an agent in the country who hasn’t had their customers shop around to see if they can get a better deal.
But an outrageous example I heard this week at the Experience Latin America tradeshow suggests consumers are becoming more and more clever.
Quasar Expeditions recently had one crafty customer request a tour quote through no fewer than two travel agents, two tour operators, and direct with Quasar itself.
Sourcing five quotes might not be unheard of, but this wily customer used a different surname on each enquiry in case Quasar offered a better deal through any particular partner.
It’s hardly a case the Serious Fraud Office would take much notice of, but this extraordinary playing of the system seems to take “savvy shopping” to the next level.
In this week’s edition, we investigate another way in which consumers are going to greater lengths to save
a few quid.
Websites such as Quidco and TopCashback, which offer members cash when they buy online from companies ranging from Currys to Clarks, have come out of nowhere to become sizeable businesses.
And with TopCashback having handled £80 million-worth of travel purchases already this year, the travel sector is a clear target for such sites’ future growth.
A straw poll around the TTG office suggests the majority of people remain in the dark about such sites, while a minority uses them avidly.
Travel agents tell us they haven’t yet seen much impact, but as shrewd consumers cotton on to cashback - which is, after all, a discount in a more palatable form - I wonder how it might affect the market.
Our analysis of the cashback sector on pages 14-15 has all the information you need to keep up with your more cunning customers.
And as for the Quasar Expeditions client: they actually didn’t take the cheapest quote in the end, but booked with the agent who was offering the best level of service: possibly their cleverest move yet.