OTAs want to tap into markets cornered by traditional agents
Online travel agencies and traditional retail agents are finding ways to coexist. The often difficult relationship between them is changing to cooperation, at a time when hoteliers are pulling away from OTAs. Orbitz, Expedia and the American Express Retail Travel Network now offer commission to travel agents.
OTAs say the cooperation stems from mutually beneficial arrangements, such as traditional agents accessing the buying power of online networks in exchange for customer service expertise that can be provided to Expedia customers. And according to a recent PhoCusWright study, high-street agents have managed to maintain the “oldies but goodies” segment of travellers. Some 67% of their sales come from customers aged over 45 and 32% from the over 60s. This is a valuable market that OTAs want to tap into.
[pictured: Tourists in Cancun; photo courtesy Expedia]