Times are pretty bad, but can you really ask your customers to pay for the selling cost – the cost for selling YOUR product to them? Now, that is stupid in normal times.. but in these times a lot of companies may be trying that route. Singapore Airlines, Lufthansa and Air france have decided to not pay the travel agents their commissions and have instead asked them to charge those to the customers.
Well, I am not sure about you.. but in normal times, one may consider this to be ok, but in these times, the customer – leisure customer and even some business travellers – would ask the airlines company to take a hike!
In tough depressionary (not just recessionary) times, this is like a duel between – Airlines’ Profit margin vs Customers’ Pocket Margins (their survival money itself!)!! I mean why in the world would I pay for YOUR companies sales channel?
The better and more intelligent way would have been to improve the sales channel online to a level plus buoyed by phones that the customers don’t leave.
Meanwhile the travel agents in India (~ 2000 in several cities) are out on the street and have threatened the SIA that they will stop selling the tickets to Singapore. But that is short sighted.. guys, your jobs and businesses are evaporating.. and you are just heating the place up to accelerate that process!!! I mean if you don’t promote businesses, when even other airlines are going that route, then the chances are that you will have to give in.. meanwhile you may even lose your own business.. and force the Airlines to do away with YOUR channel completely.
The only thing that probably gives these agents some confidence and ego is the number of travellers to Singapore from India – out of a total tourist numbers of 10 million, about 800k were from India itself. Just 4 countries make up 50% of all the tourists in Singapore – India, Indonesia, Australia and Malaysia.
The question that every one – specifically the airlines and the agents – need to evaluate is.. do a few more dollars or Rupees now as important in face of a life changing situation? This is not a little “slowdown” it is a catastrophe unfolding! So, both should have been looking at game changing strategies and opportunities…. and NOT short sighted attempts to earn a few cents more. Oh well.
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