Air Canada Poised To Pay Agents For GDS Bookings


Yesterday afternoon (Tues., March 3, 2015) Air Canada advised travel agents across Canada of some significant changes to its Domestic Cash Rewards plan that will see it eliminate the 7% reward it had been paying on Tango domestic web bookings, but introducing a 4% reward level on both web and GDS bookings of its Flex, Latitude, Business Class and Premium rouge fares. The changes go into effect on April 1, 2015.

In a letter to agents, Air Canada’s vice-president, global sales, Duncan Bureau wrote: “Today, we have announced the elimination of the 7% Cash Reward on Tango fares and reduced the Cash Reward on all fare types, Domestic Flight Passes and Group bookings to 4%. We have also announced that we will now offer you the opportunity to earn Cash Rewards for your Domestic Canada bookings on both your web and GDS bookings.”

Bureau, clearly aware that the changes would likely see some push-back from some in the agency community, addressed those concerns directly: “No doubt some of you will be disappointed with the removal and reduction of the Domestic Cash Reward … This decision was not taken lightly, we monitored the results for almost 12 months and based on the results, it became crystal clear that we needed to focus our incentive programs [so] that [they] support higher yields and better margins.”

And AC’s vice-president, global sales emphasized that the new program “is focused on recognizing partnerships” and is designed to provide “additional revenue earning opportunities for delivery of higher yielding revenues and consistent performance.”

In a conversation with Press Today, just prior to releasing its announcement, Bureau told PT: “What we want our [agency] partners to focus on is the attributes associated with Flex [fares] and above and [that’s] a win-win for both our agency partners, our distribution partners and Air Canada.”

He continued: “We think that the contribution from [the] travel trade is their ability to articulate the value associated with Flex [fares] and above and we think those are significant. We think that travel agencies can sell that product and sell it very successfully and be in a position to earn significant compensation that we think makes sense for both them and for us.”

Stay tuned, there will be more on this story in the March 9, 2015 issue of Canadian Travel Press.