The questions travel agents need to ask themselves when considering dynamic packaging are simple:
- What destinations do I want to cover?
- How much choice do I want to offer?
Riches said: “Agents shouldn’t try to do too much too soon. They should focus in on a few suppliers and familiarise themselves with certain properties because it’s very different from selling from a brochure.
“You only want to be working with four or five suppliers across the different sectors and we know people who are working successfully with just two.”
He also advised agents to check pricing from a range of suppliers occasionally to ensure the providers they are using are competitive.
There are other advantages to just picking a handful of suppliers such as the commercial terms involved.
Seaman said: “You wouldn’t give customers 20 brochures because that’s the travel agent’s job. They need to focus their sales on a few companies and become of value to those companies.”
Picken agreed, but also advised agents to pick suppliers in terms of the value they offer for the chosen destination.
“Agents should be trying to drive as much business as possible through a handful of suppliers to build a strong relationship with them. They also need to look at whether they are taking principal status. That is a clear indication of their commitment to the trade and speaks volumes.”
Whether an ATOL bond is necessary has been a hot topic ever since the advent of dynamic packaging.
However, after a lengthy industry wide consultation process, the Civil Aviation Authority’s latest thinking is that dynamic packaging requires a bond or the agent must let the consumer know their holiday is not protected.
Parr said: “The CAA has responded to the industry in terms of making it as simple as it can. The website is informative and has lots of information so agents can determine whether they should have an ATOL.”
The industry has also already responded with Triton – the superconsortium made up of Advantage, the Global Travel Group and Worldchoice – unveiling its ATOL scheme at its conference in mid April.
Rival organisations including the Freedom Travel Agents Consortium also offer bonding arrangements to members.
The CAA’s new definition of what is considered a package holiday also takes into account what the consumer thinks they are buying. Most agree that dynamic packaging is industry jargon and consumers just think they are buying a holiday.
Aside from the ATOL issues, agents also need to consider principal status and indemnity insurance.
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