Travel agents must support the suppliers that support them otherwise they risk losing that backing, a prominent industry exec bluntly told a group of 600 Canadian and US travel agents in Mexico recently, reports managing editor, Michael Baginski in this week’s digital edition of Canadian Travel Press.
“You have to co-brand yourselves with a company that supports you,” stated Karisma Hotels & Resorts senior VP of Sales & Marketing, Mandy Chomat, adding, “You better start vertical integration. We have to count on you.”
Chomat’s matter-of-fact comments came at the company’s 9th annual Gourmet Inclusive Vacation Consultant (GIVC) Sales & Marketing Forum, held at the Eldorado Royale resort in the Riviera Maya, with the 35-year industry veteran, adding, “You can’t be all things to all people!”
Chomat’s remarks to Karisma’s top sellers began predictably enough.
“Travel agents are our No. 1 partner,” he said, noting that the company, which manages such luxury brands as Eldorado, Generations, Azul, Allure, Sensimar and Nickelodeon, with 26 resorts in seven countries, has always chosen a traditional distribution model: “Consumer to travel agent to wholesaler to us…” Moreover, the company adamantly refuses to distribute via online travel agencies (OTAs), he pointed out.
The company even once fired an employee for bypassing agents and booking a customer direct.
Add in top level commissions of 21% and a wealth of sophisticated marketing tools that Karisma makes available to agents to help sell their product and Chomat asked, “Can anyone in this room say that any other hotel chain, larger or smaller, does what we do for travel agents?”
But raising Chomat’s ire was a recent mystery shopper exercise commissioned by the company that didn’t produce results as positive as Karisma expected.
For the full story, check out this week’s digital edition of Canadian Travel Press by clicking here.