Virgin Atlantic Airways celebrates the start of its new travel agent commission scheme, Colours, on 1 May 2004. Nearly 500 agents have signed up to Colours and will enjoy commission rates of up to 7% for the sale of economy tickets, well above British Airways’ flat rate of 1%. Colours retains a commission-based structure allowing the airline to differentiate between and reward trade partners based on their support.
Paul Wait, General Manager of Sales, commented:
“We are delighted with the response to Colours from the trade. We have developed this unique commission scheme in order to maintain the investment with those trade partners that actively support the airline. We’ve exceeded our forecasts by having 478 agents onboard already and we are confident that the Colours scheme will be a success and provide a mutually beneficial relationship for both parties.
“As the bands are determined by revenue and market share, it allows a fair playing field for agents to get Gold status. The larger agents can make higher status based on revenue and the smaller agents through market share, therefore providing equal opportunity to obtain higher commissions and access exclusive benefits. We will be reviewing the bands in January 2005 and if agents wish to move up they will have the ability to do so based on the Colours criteria.
“We are also delighted that Worldspan have been able to develop a product that enables agents to participate in the scheme as well.
“There have been many changes in the industry recently with many of our rivals cutting their commission rates to 1% and failing to consult with trade bodies. Virgin Atlantic recognises the contribution that travel agents make to our commercial success and aims to reward them accordingly, in addition to full consultation with GBTA and ABTA.”
Colours is based on a banding criteria for agents. The bands - Platinum, Gold, Silver and Red are attributed to agents based on revenue and market share and determine the levels of commission and benefits they earn. Platinum and Gold agents will earn 7% for the sale of Economy tickets, 5% for Premium Economy and 4% for Upper Class. Silver agents will earn 4% and Red agents will earn 3% for the sale of all classes of ticket. Agents that do not apply to be a member of the scheme will be banded as Blue and will receive 1% commission for the sale of all classes of ticket.
This new structure applies to the UK only; existing arrangements remain for the rest of the world. The new Colours scheme is GDS specific and is applicable to Sabre, Galileo and Worldspan.
Only the agents that are not account managed and do not apply will be banded in the ‘Blue’ category. For any further enquiries about the scheme agents should send an email to [email protected]