Tour Operators go Online to Reach Agents

The trend towards tour operators going online for travel agency bookings has gathered pace, following the announcement that Tarleton Travel will offer agents a dedicated bookings website at the beginning of August.


Spanish specialist Tarleton`s new website (www.tarletontravel.com/travelagents
), powered by TravelOptions, will offer agents real-time commission-paying bookings on over 27,000 return flights to Spain. Additionally, agents will be able to book car hire, travel insurance and airport parking and can download brochure pages online. Plans are also in place to provide agents with live, up-the-minute information about travel news, such as flight delays.


Coming hot on the heels of the launch of Kim Howell`s “Go for IT” initiative to get travel industry providers online, Tarleton is the latest operator to harness TravelOptions` solution. Other operators web-enabled by TravelOptions include Teleticket - which now completes 40% of its bookings online - Travel Extras and Ski World.

TravelOptions` breakthrough solution gives operators a total web bookings package for a single payment and a negotiable fee for each booking made, rather than a costly annual licence.


Said Tim Argent, marketing director of TravelOptions: “There is currently a dramatic move by tour operators to harness the web for distribution to agents, on the grounds that it offers a cheap, fast and secure alternative to viewdata. Tarleton`s decision confirms that our solution is leading the way in getting specialist operators online where they can compete with the bigger players.”

ADVERTISEMENT


Stuart Knight commented, director at Tarleton: “Agents currently account for 20% of our business and with TravelOptions powering our site we are confident we can bolster our relationships with agents and expand our customer base. We opted for a web-based system rather than viewdata because of its greater reach and accessibility. It also allows us to supply agents with more information and to process commission payments quickly and efficiently.”


In addition to their comprehensive charter services to Almeria and Menorca, Tarleton Travel are also the main consolidator of British Airways` scheduled routes to Almeria, Spain, and will offer a minimum commission of 10% to agents booking this scheduled route through their website.


TravelOptions` solution`s flexibility allows operators to convert their existing website into a fully-bookable online travel store with bookings passed into their TravelOptions back-office system, without the need for costly server hardware. As a result, operators can offer both direct and commissionable agency bookings online at a fraction of the cost of a bespoke web solution.


——-