Chief operating officer and UK managing director Kirsten Hughes told TCs at the company’s annual conference to look carefully at the operators they use and support.
“Some might only give you 3%: you’re worth more than that,” she insisted. “Some operators no longer offer price parity. Don’t fish in their pond; don’t advertise their holidays. I know there will be occasional times when that might be the right product for your customer, but you want the customer who will not look online for something £200 cheaper.”
Hughes cited a TC who had boosted her margin from 10.8% in 2013 to 14.2% this year by reducing third- party operator sales from 25% to 5% of her business, and using Travel Counsellors’ packaging platform Phenix instead.
“We need to be expert in products customers can’t find elsewhere,” said Hughes. “We are continually looking for new products, new destinations and exclusive added value. We’ve added 27 new DMCs in the last year alone.” She also encouraged TCs to be brave enough to turn the “wrong” sort of customer away.
“That customer who comes to you with prices from Booking.com – you could take the booking and make £50, but that customer is going to come back and do it again,” she said. “You will fall out of love with your customers if you take ones like these.”