Calling the practice “stealing” and “backstabbing,” and expressing a sense of “betrayal,” travel advisors who specialize in destination weddings are registering their dissatisfaction with suppliers that make special offers directly to an agency’s clients to win direct future bookings.
According to a Travel Market Report story, nine out of 10 advisors who responded to a survey conducted this month by the Destination Wedding & Honeymoon Specialists Association (DWHSA), said they want suppliers to stop offering these special “Come Back” deals and discounts.
It has been a common practice for some resorts to offer special deals and discounts to guests at check out, or to obtain the guest’s contact information to send them direct offers after they return home.
If suppliers insist on maintaining these programs, 93% of advisors believe they should be credited automatically for future bookings and nearly 88% said they should receive full commission for those sales. Just 11% said they would accept partial commissions. More than 360 advisors responded to the DWHSA survey.
"As travel advisors, we believe strongly that our clients belong to us," said Lisa Sheldon, DWHSA's president and the owner of I Do Island Weddings in Janesville, Wisconsin. "We book our clients as guests with suppliers — we're not sharing those clients. And, as the survey results show, we don't need the help of suppliers to follow up with our own clients.
"We've done the hard work and shouldered the expense of turning consumers into clients," she said. "It's unfair — and unethical — for suppliers to take our clients' information, talk them into future bookings at rates we can't always match as agents, and reap the profit from those sales."
John Hawks, DWHSA administrator, cited the major cruise lines as a model for better collaboration. "If our clients book future voyages onboard the ship, many cruise lines credit the agent of record automatically and pay commission on those bookings — no forms, no hoops to jump through, just a mutually beneficial and respectful relationship."
An observer and analyst of the Canadian and international travel industries for over 25 years, Bruce uses the pre-dawn hours to prepare a daily news and information package to keep industry members up to date.