The Importance of Supplier Relationships to Travel Agents

The Importance of Supplier Relationships to Travel Agents

by Christine James
Vice President
TL Network

When I’m talking to my friends outside of the travel industry, they sometimes have difficulty grasping the concept behind a preferred supplier. So, I tell them, a preferred supplier is simply a partnership between two organizations who have mutually committed to help each other increase sales.

In the travel industry, preferred suppliers are the lifeblood of travel agency success. Not only do they extend enhanced commissions and competitive advantages, but they also provide peace of mind since you know that the company is vetted and offers a great product.

TL Network is fortunate to have preferred relationships with literally the best lineup of travel providers in the industry. No matter what style or type of travel is your niche, we have a preferred supplier who can fulfill your clients needs as well as earn you a higher commission.

Which is why it never ceases to amaze me when I walk into a member agency and see brochures or other promotional items on display for every supplier imaginable. Not only is this extremely confusing to the potential client, but it is also highly counterproductive on the part of the agent.

Quite often, the more choices you give a client, the more difficult it is to pin him or her down to a decision. In addition, if you are displaying brochures of non-preferred suppliers in your office or promoting them on your website, you risk eroding your profits by earning lesser commissions.

To maximize your profits, you should only display and suggest preferred supplier products. Sure, have a few non-preferred niche suppliers in your back pocket for those rare occasions when clients who are in search of niche product that is not offered by one of our partners, but focus your sales on preferred suppliers first and foremost.

Clients are generally happy as long as they receive the product and pricing they’re seeking. However, if your client insists on a non-preferred supplier, make it clear to them that you do not have a relationship with that supplier; therefore, in the event that they encounter a problem, it may be difficult to resolve it.

Not only do preferred suppliers assist in times of need, they also go out of their way to provide exceptional customer service, as well as acknowledge your loyal clients with bonus amenities and exclusive perks. They do this because they are honoring their commitment to our partnership—they are helping you become more successful. It only makes good business sense for travel agents to reciprocate. Remember: we are stronger, and more successful when we work together.