Category Archives: Agents

APT & IGAT introduce cruises for Vietnam, Cambodia and Europe in India

Australian Pacific Touring (APT), represented by InterGlobe AirTransport (IGAT) as its exclusive sales agency in India for luxury cruise and tours, introduced its premium products for river cruising in Vietnam, Cambodia and Europe. The product education through roadshows for the travel agents began in New Delhi and will be followed by Bengaluru and Mumbai on March 22 and March 23 respectively. IGAT is responsible to market and promote these products in the India market to their vast network of travel partners through roadshows, educational workshops and product presentations. Sunil Talreja, Vice President-International Passenger Sales, InterGlobe Air Transport, said, “This is a new venture for us and we are very excited about it. I feel the reach that we can provide to APT with our pan-India network is unmatched. Initially we will focus on large markets of the metro cities namely Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru. It is not a run of the mill product and we intend to spread awareness and identify our uniqueness in te market as the first step.” According to Craig James, Strategic Parterships Manager, APT Global Head Office, India is a multi generational market and there is a lot of scope to educate the segments on river cruising which is very different from an ocean cruise. “The Magnificent Europe is one the most popular products which is from Amsterdam to Budapest for 14 nights and 15 days. We are unique as we offer three royal experiences that money can’t buy, once in a lifetime opportunity which includes an exclusive invitation to the Namady Castle, day trip on Majestic Imperator and a cocktail reception and concert at Vienna’s High Baroque-style City Palace,” said James.

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BuyForexOnline launches B2B platform for agents

Bengaluru-based BuyForexOnline has launched a new B2B forex platform for travel agents and education consultants. A pilot launch in Bengaluru saw more than 250 agents registered for the platform. The Total Agent Module (TAM) allows agents to effortlessly place Forex and remittance orders for their clients. The additional burden of sales, payment, delivery, escalations and customer support is then completely handled by the BuyForexOnline Team, leaving the agent free to focus on their core travel competencies. The platform will now be rolled out across India to primarily target SME travel agents and student consultancies specialising in overseas education. Ananth Reddy, Founder and Managing Director of BuyForexOnline says, “Forex in the B2B space is a largely disorganized sector with Agents ordering Forex for their clients through multiple offline channels, often requiring additional resources both in time and manpower for coordinating the transaction. This becomes challenging, especially when it comes to determining rates, arranging for delivery, and collecting payments. TAM was launched to address these challenges and to streamline the process. It is an easy lead-generation tool, and once the lead is triggered, the BuyForexOnline team then takes over and contacts the client to close the lead.” The key advantage of TAM is that the lead is mapped to the agent, and their commission is automatically captured by the system even for all subsequent transactions by that client. An in-depth report can be viewed on the system by the travel agent to monitor their commissions. “Our rates are the lowest in the market, and travel agents are free to add-on a further margin for their clients, which will be protected for them.” added Reddy.

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OTOAI’s Turkey Educon from May 3-7

The Outbound Tour Operators Association of India (OTOAI) has revived its Turkey Educational Tour for its members from May 3-7, 2017. Organised in association with Turkish Indian Tourism Council (TITC), the registration for the tour started on March 20, 2017. Riaz Munshi, Vice President, OTOAI, revealed the details saying initially the educon will take members to Mugla.

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Pankaj Nagpal steps down from ETAA post

Pankaj Nagpal – Managing Director, Travstarz Global Group has resigned from his position as the Enterprising Travel Agents Association National Director & Chapter Chairman – North India, after being an Office Bearer for ETAA for over five years. Commenting on the move, he said, “I have served ETAA to the best of my ability during my tenure and have established ETAA in North India Region which had only 13 members when I took over and today stands at over 150 Members. I thank my last Committee for all their contribution and all the Members for their support. My pre-occupation with the business is one of the reasons that I decided to quit ETAA and I am sure the board will find a capable replacement to take ETAA forward and I wish them all the very best for the future specially after the successful 2nd Domestic Convention held recently at Hyderabad.” He had announced the dissolution of the existing North India Committee during the last member’s meet held at Ashoka Hotel in November 2016, and was in the process of forming the new committee but decided to resign himself as well.

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Cox & Kings launches disabled friendly travel initiative

Backed by Cox & Kings, Enable Travel, an accessible holiday provider was launched on March 16 in New Delhi. It aims to make travel more inclusive and will cater to the travel aspirations of people with disabilities. Curated leisure tours will be offered to travellers with disabilities across mobility (wheelchairs), hearing, speech and vision impairment. Speaking at the launch, Debolin Sen, Head, Enable Travel said, “It is a long term commitment to make travel easy and hassle free in India and to empower every individual to celebrate their love for travel. Through this initiative we are trying to address various barriers like inaccessible travel information, lack of transportation and disabled friendly hotel rooms that prevent people from traveling.” The company is currently offering inbound and domestic holidays and will introduce quality transportation, support services including investments in specially trained manpower such as caregivers, sign language interpreters, expert guides and escorts. Karan Anand, Head-Relationships, Cox & Kings, commented, “Many tourists with disabilities within an outside India are keen on exploring different travel experiences the country has to offer. It is important to tap this largely underserved segment of travellers by providing quality assistance and services that focus on individual needs. Enabling barrier-free travel for people with disabilities will contribute to a significant increase in inbound and domestic tourism.”

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SOTC upgrades website with greater focus on online sales

has increased its focus on the travel e-commerce space with an upgraded portal that offers an experiential holiday buying experience for travellers with new features. The website offers customers a more engaging user experience with enhanced search and map navigation. Vishal Suri, Managing Director, SOTC Travel says, “Our desire was to use technology to allow customers to engage seamlessly with us across our physical and digital platforms. The new website is built on SOTC’s Omni-channel approach which is customer-centric and helps us deliver an integrated digital experience to our customers. The clean and more attractive website presents a more engaging user experience. Features such as multiple payment options, price comparing feature and share/ recommend holiday to friends and family offer our visitors a very informative experience. We have also added new and enhanced content offering huge innovative packages- international and domestic. We look forward to an increase in website visitors, content consumption and feedback from our users on our new developments.” Highlights of the upgraded website include multiple payment options, price comparing feature, and retrieval feature that shows past bookings and highlights current offers and promotions.

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Why hesitate in rewarding agents and tour operators?

Guldeep Singh Sahni, President, OTOAI, says, “Most of the tour operators and outbound agents have been working with Emirates as it has great connectivity to all the destinations that they are selling. On top of it, the 3 per cent commission was a great attraction. However, now after the commission has gone down, the cost of the package would go up and tour operators would tend to pick up other airlines for their clients. I find it difficult to understand that when most of the airline tickets are sold by ticketing agents and tour operators, why do the airlines do not think that it’s justified in rewarding them with commission?

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Business will go to other airlines offering commission

M.P. Khanna, Managing Director, Diplomatic Travel, says, “We have been working very closely with Emirates for many years. However, reducing its commission from three per cent to 1 per cent would affect its business as it would now go to other airlines. However, while reducing the commission of agents, Emirates will be offering reduced fares online, which creates a difference from the prices on the GDS, and would affect our business too. When the customers will go online, they would go for cheaper fares. The business class and first class product of Emirates is not cheap, and hence there could be a loss. However, everyone in the business tends to be selfish. If we won’t get as much commission as we used to get earlier, we would divert our clients to airlines that offer us decent commission. When Emirates took the decision, they did not consult their trade partners who promoted them for years. Now, there would certainly be a loss of business to them.”

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Withdrawing agents’ commission not a good sign

Rajan Sehgal, Chairman, Northern Region, TAAI, says “Emirates is expanding its network fast and already has the largest number of flights, amongst all the international carries, flying to and from India. All this is because of the support of the travel agents. Agents in India have been marketing, selling, bringing customers and giving credit to them and paying the airline in time. Emirates does not understand that this could negatively impact the business. Offering 3 per cent commission on the basic fare is only peanuts for Emirates, but it is still following suit as other international airlines. Withdrawing this commission is not a good sign. However, they would soon realise that travel agents are important for the business. the Indian travel industry, unlike in other nations, is not very strong and has no support from the government. Hence, everybody is cutting the profit of the travel agent, but they will soon realise that travel agents are a major contributor to their business.”

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A disappointing act by Emirates

Disappointed by the latest circular by Emirates to cut down commissions to one per cent, Rajat Bagaria, Committee Member, The Travel Agents Federation of India (TAFI), says, “Airlines should be encouraging their travel agency sales force rather than disarming them. Agents always considered EK as an agent-friendly airline, and we rewarded the airline with load factors from all the cities. However, this move brings them at par with other airlines. This comes at a time when the summer season is about to begin, and when we are already reeling under the Service Tax amendment impact. Coupled with the reduced commission, the web disparity, and direct promotions to the frequent fliers and corporates, the margins of the agents will be drastically hit. I hope they have call centres well equipped to handle customer calls and complaints.”

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