Operators work hard on relationships with agents, says Advantage

Operators are working hard to improve sales practices and forge closer relationships with agents, a survey by Advantage has suggested.

Of those who responded to the second annual ‘Agent Friendly’ survey, 54 operators received the top rating, up from 27 last year.

Commercial director Julia Lo Bue-Said the consortium was pleased with the way operators had responded to agent concerns over premium rate telephone numbers.

“We have done a lot of work over the last year to get operators to provide members with local rate telephone numbers. Having analysed some of our members’ phone bills we’ve found that around 70% of the cost of their bill is attributed to 0845, 0870 numbers etc.”

The survey also showed that 42% of operators are paying commission on all compulsory supplements.

“This is encouraging, but there is still a significant number being selective on what they pay commission on. Agents are asking why they should collect charges for operators for no reward,” said Lo Bue-Said.

Meanwhile, 30% of suppliers said they would make direct contact with clients who had previously booked with them via an agent, while 35% are failing to promote agents as a booking channel in mailshots.

“There is a very big issue of trust,” said Lo Bue-Said. “By their own admission, 17% of operators capture customer details in response, presumably so they can contact customers at a later date.”

In the next survey, Advantage members may have the chance to rate their preferred business partners.

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