The Travel Factory Blog

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May I Help You?

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The heritage of this agency started back in the late forties when the airline industry was just getting off the ground. Mrs. Ruth Gay who initiated the travel agency business back then was focused primarily on ocean travel, but air travel was beginning to make a little headway.

When I started in the business in 1976, travel agents were appreciated and loved because we were the lifeblood of the airlines business, 'course it was the phone and Official Airline Guide operation back then. To show their appreciation, the airlines paid the travel agencies a commission for selling and servicing their (our) customers.

In the late 90's, after the airlines started marketing to the general public through their on-line reservation systems and other on-line agencies, they quit appreciating the agencies with any kind of commission, and became more difficult to deal with in trying to solve our (their) clients problems.

One travel agent has mentioned that “booking air is as thankless as flying....but necessary”.

This same agent had this to say in regard to trying to be a good partner for our client with the airlines. He said “it is challenging to have a client return home and tell us how great everything about their vacation was except getting to the origination point or returning home.”

Here's the frustration. Preferred seat assignments lost when schedules change, missed connections, excessive flight delays, lost luggage, security lines, pricing increasing between quote and ticketing, and all occurring with increasing frequency. So the agents find themselves often spending far more time on air transportation than on the remainder of the travel package. Something as simple as finding acceptable seats on supplier-booked air has become an ordeal taking far too many hours to resolve.....not to mention the long hours on hold to try to get some support.

That aforementioned agent likens our experience in trying to solve airline problems like the duck appearing to swim calmly on the pond while paddling furiously below the surface. And way too often, those efforts are met with the client's frustration with the agent----sometimes outright loss of a client—because of uncontrollable events or circumstances far beyond our control.

Since the airlines cut commissions, this community went from 8 travel agencies servicing the travel needs of the Big Country, to currently 2 agencies.....and it's been that way for the past almost 20 years. Currently many agencies have ceased selling airline tickets because it is such a losing proposition. We at The Travel Factory continue to sell them, primarily as a service to our community. For the time we have to spend, compared to the modest service charge, then often the grief we have to endure because of situations way outside of our control, the only way to justify is that it is pure service.

Because, some who come through our doors do not have a computer to do their own arrangements, or don't have a clue as to what to do if they had one. Plus there are many international clients who are desperate for assistance, because there's nowhere else to go.

This aforementioned agent remarked that sometimes he felt like if he never had to be involved with a client's air travel again, it would not be soon enough. He suggested that the reality is that the reason the clients call us is because there is a need, and they think we can help fill that need. Air arrangements are still really “special”!! Continue to call on The Travel Factory at 698-1421 or come by our office, since 1984, at 4150 Southwest Drive. Let us help you scratch that travel need!!

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