With the Covid-19 outbreak in March 2020, the workload of travel agents has suddenly increased to handle the cancellations of flights and the refunds of several thousand air tickets at the very same time.
Sale of tickets represents about 70% of the working time of employees; the actual job of travel agents is today principally to handle the queries of customers and try to give them the latest travel advices, to rebook a reservation, to cancel a flight, but this generates almost no financial income as there are nearly no transactions. The travel agent is working for free.
Travel Management Companies (TMCs),operating in the business travel market are paid on the basis of ticket sales and and changes them. The service rendered to the customers around a ticket/travel sold were free of charge.
The fcurrent crisis shows that the transaction fee model is no longer workable. Travel agents should be paid for the work done, independently if the ticket is issued or not. For TMCs this is a real challenge: if the client is a SMEs, you can sometimes negotiate compensation,whereas changing the contract of large customers is hardly possible.
Yet a win-win situation should be the target to help travel to restart.