Dynamic packaging has given many agents the chance to redefine their roles in the sales process and offer more choice to their customers.
But, with an often bewildering range of product, how important are the suppliers they choose to sell and the information they give customers to ensure bookings don’t backfire?
With news this week that complaint levels linked to dynamically-packaged holidays are higher than traditional packages, agents say choosing trustworthy suppliers and ensuring customers know exactly what they have been sold is vital to keeping customers happy.
For Britaly Travel this means using tried and tested suppliers. The Peterborough-based agency has embraced dynamic packaging – it makes up around 60% of its sales – but will only use suppliers that have a good reputation and are able to deliver product to its requirements.
This is despite the fact there is a wide range of product for agents to dynamically package as a result of increasing numbers of suppliers competing for agents’ business.
Agency partner Daniele Broccoli said: “We only use tour operators who we know are good and have checked their hotels out.”
Broccoli said that by only using operators that it trusts, Britaly Travel has seen no increase in customer complaints or calls to its agency’s emergency hotline since it started dynamically packaging holidays.
He added agents must tell the customer exactly what to expect from the package – for example that there will not be a holiday rep in resort – while ensuring the holiday is right for the client.
He said: “You have to be clear with the client and tell them if there is a problem to call your emergency number, but if it is a customer who has never been abroad we try to sell them a traditional package so they will have their hands held.”
Fred Olsen Travel group retail manager Louise Tweed agreed working with good suppliers was vital as they can be more flexible if problems arise with a booking.
Dynamic packaging accounts for between 15% and 20% of the agency’s business and the figure is expected to grow. However, there are still times when reverting to a traditional tour operator package is the best option for the client, added Tweed.
“If a client misses a flight there is very little you can do but if they have booked a traditional package then you get the security of knowing they are with the tour operator who will sort it out,” she said.
Traveltime managing director Barry Moxley has done little to promote dynamic packaging, which accounts for less than 10% of business in his agency. Staff prefer to use operators which offer a variety of components that the agent can tailor together.
He said: “Dynamic packaging takes time and increases your risk as an agent. If you do a lot of dynamic packaging, particularly at the middle and lower end of the price market, then your profitability goes down and you simply can’t do the same amount of business.
“A call to the operator means they take on the hassle of doing the dynamic package for you.”