Travel agency distribution has become increasingly important for low-cost and hybrid carriers (LCCs). Up to 30% of LCC volumes are now sold via the travel agency channel, which is an impressive evolution over the last decade.Ten years ago, LCCs sold almost exclusively via their websites.
As LCCs increasingly integrate travel agency sales into their plans for future growth and profitability, the demand for their fares and offers is also growing.
Today’s travellers are asking for more choice, options and value for money. This means travel agencies need easily comparable, comprehensive offers that include LCCs more than ever before.
With 80% of total global LCC seats now available in Amadeus, most of the fares and offers are already available today. The question is, how can LCCs, fully capitalise on travel agency distribution?
We recently published the Top 5 best practices for LCCs to be successful with travel agents. This study translates our experience in working with LCC and agency customers into 5 easy-to-implement best practices so that LCCs can get the most from distribution while answering travellers’ evolving needs.
Over the next few weeks, we will explore each best practice in more detail and bring valuable insights from our local experts who work closely with these carriers and travel agencies.
LCC Best Practice #1: Offer all of your competitive fares
Top performing LCCs are embracing travel agency distribution by aligning their strategies and approach to the needs of travel sellers.
Travel agencies depend on earning continued trust and loyalty from travellers, who are more informed and selective than ever before. This means they need to offer the best trip planning experience with the widest range of travel options.
And this includes transparent, open and competitive LCC offers.
The key to success is making a diverse range of fares available and creating confidence with travel agents:
- Agents that have access to a full range of fares (from the most affordable fare to targeted bundles) are able to provide the variety of options needed for their customers.
- If travel agents know they have the most tailored, relevant and competitive offers available, they can be confident in recommendations and build traveller loyalty.
Offering the best flights, at the right price, in an easily comparable way means agents are more likely to sell an airline’s seats.
LCCs who provide their full range of fares and ancillary services can double their travel agency volumes.
Let’s take Norwegian, Europe’s 3rd largest LCC, as an example. By making a range of bundled fares available in Amadeus, they offer tailored and diverse content to agents that is easily bookable.
Part of their offer to agents is exclusive fare bundles that include a flight, 2 checked bags, 1 hand luggage, a reserved seat, free onboard Wi-Fi, security fast-track in applicable airports and the option to buy flexibility. These bundles are actually cheaper than booking each service separately on their website, which means greater value to the traveller, to the benefit of both the agent and the airline.
It’s this approach that has helped Norwegian increase bookings in Amadeus by 55% over the last four years, while the airline has successfully expanded to 10 new international markets.
Extending a range of competitive offers to travel agents is essential to unlocking the full potential of travel agency distribution. This practice not only improves profitability, but it helps build mutually beneficial relationships with travel agency partners and inspires repeat business from travellers.
Stay tuned for LCC Best Practice #2: How LCCs can adapt their product offer for travel agency customers. Coming soon! Check out this infographic for a sneak preview.