How to navigate a confusing travel agency’s booking process
Posted On June 30, 2021
A confusing travel agent booking process could cost you hundreds of dollars in extra fees and penalties, a new report says.
In fact, a number of major travel agencies have come under fire for allegedly manipulating booking rates and fees, with one recent example of a major travel agency charging hundreds of thousands of dollars for a single booking of a trip to Europe.
According to a report by the Travel Association, which represents more than 1,300 travel agencies, booking agents may have inflated the prices for certain travel trips in order to get more profit from their clients.
“When you’re a travel agent, you’re responsible for your own success,” said Travel Association CEO Scott O’Brien.
“The reality is, your success is predicated on how well you can make money.”
According to the report, booking agency agents may charge inflated rates in order for them to make more money, and then they may also charge you an extra fee or penalty if they find out you are a repeat customer.
According the report:The report also suggests booking agents are often willing to work with individuals who are not fully compliant with their booking rules and booking rules, and that they may charge you more if you don’t adhere to the booking rules.
“The only way to get a fair and transparent rate and booking is to get your customer back on track and get them to follow through on their commitments,” said O’Brian.
The Travel Association’s report also noted that agents may not disclose the amount of the fee or the additional fee that they will charge if the customer does not comply with the booking terms.
O’Brien said he did not know how many people are affected by the practice, but said it is not a common practice.
“We know of a couple of instances where it was a little bit of an anomaly, and the customer got a refund,” he said.
“But it is something that we have seen many times in the industry.
There are always some cases where it’s just a little different, but it’s not a huge problem.”
According the Travel Agency Association, it has had instances where booking agents have charged customers more than they agreed to, and even a single payment over $1,000 could result in a cancellation or an additional penalty.
In one example, a booking agent charged $1.75 for a trip from San Francisco to New York.
“They charged us an additional fee of $1 per mile and that is a very significant fee,” O’Bryan said.
“We’ve never seen anything like that.”
He added that the problem could also affect the consumer if a customer makes repeated booking mistakes.
“If they make the same mistake and they get charged more than we agreed on, that could be a big issue,” he explained.
“So we’re always looking at how we can help our customers get the best price for their trip.”
O’Bryans report was based on interviews with over 2,500 travel agents, including those who work with a variety of clients.
According for the report released Wednesday, many booking agencies, including Sunita Travel and Apple Travel, have been accused of charging customers fees of up to $1 million for the same booking.
“Some agencies charge people fees that go into the amount that the consumer is charged for the trip, and some of the agencies that charge the fees don’t disclose that to the consumer,” O`Brien said.
The report found that many booking agents charged a flat rate of $0.70 per mile, with some charging as much as $1 or more per mile.
For example, booking agent Ryan Miller charged a booking fee of about $4.25 per mile for trips to London, with a flat fee of around $1 a mile.
In some cases, the booking fee was also higher than the actual booking fee.
For example, Sunita charged an additional $2.50 for trips from Los Angeles to San Francisco.
“I’m not sure how many of these agents charge customers a flat price, but I think it’s a lot,” said Kelly Schleicher, an agent at Apple Travel.
Schleichar said she had a client who had a $7,500 booking fee, but she was able to get the trip booked for a discounted rate of only $4,500.
“It’s really important for us to get our clients to make good decisions and follow through with what they’re committing to,” she said.
O”Brien said that booking agencies can use the information in the report to inform their agents about how to better manage their clients and get their customers to follow up with them.OBrien said if the agency has a problem with a customer, it can contact them directly.
“You don’t have to be a customer to get in touch with us,” he added.