Travel agents warned not to replace traditional packages with dynamic packaging – 1 Mar 2007

Travel agents have been warned not to abandon traditional operator packages – even though dynamic packaging is the future.

Hays Travel is piloting a new dynamic packaging system for its agents, which it hopes to roll out in the next two to three weeks.

The miniple’s managing director John Hays said his agents had no choice but to use dynamic packaging as a booking method despite his preference to remain loyal to suppliers. Dynamic packaging makes up a third of the chain’s business.

“I would be mad not to develop this, but our preferred option is still to work with suppliers who want to work with us because our expertise is as a travel agency,” he said.

However, he admitted agents also needed dynamic packaging as long as they could “earn sensible margins”.

Hays said he has been reassured by Thomas Cook and MyTravel following the recent merger announcement that his agents will be part of the distribution mix.

He said: “They are telling me they want a certain amount of third-party distribution, but they will probably want fewer relationships with more productive partners.”

Hays Travel’s new technology will allow agents to search several bed banks, the group’s own contracted hotels, as well as charter, no-frills and scheduled flights at the same time.

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