In this week’s digital edition of Travel Courier, Ian Stalker reports that Collette says it’s continuing to hold out a hand of friendship to travel agents at a time when many agents may feel like their circle of friendships is shrinking.
Brett Walker, who oversees the tour operator’s Canadian operation, cites a number of factors when making the case that Collette continues to stand by agents, including Collette’s decision to remove all of its tours from such online agencies as affordabletours.com, which Walker says offers Collette competitor tours at discounts of 15% to 20%.
“You won’t find Collette on any of these discount web sites,” he says, adding those sites do a “huge volume” of business. “These sites offer steep, steep discounts and lure passengers away from high-service agencies. We believe there is much more value to working with our agents partners offering fair pricing than following a path of ‘how low can we go.’ That’s proof of us being agent-focused.”
In fact, says Walker, in a time of dwindling agent commissions, Collette is offering agents a growing number of ways in which they can earn commission, noting that optional items on company tours – such as theatre performances and day trips – provide commissions if booked before the itinerary begins. “There’s nothing that isn’t commissionable on Collette tour products and air products and tour options.”
Agents booking air travel from Collette will receive what Walker labels a “very generous” 10% commission.
The family owned tour operator, which dates back to 1962, adds that agents selling its products will receive full commission, even if the the client cancels the trip. As well, if a client buy’s Collette’s Travel Protection Plan and cancels for covered reasons, agents will receive full commission on the product.
“I believe Collette is a forerunner in terms of being agent-friendly and agent-focused. There’s only one channel of distribution [for Collette] and that is the travel agent channel.”
For the full story in this week’s Travel Courier, click here.