Small agents on the business travel market are not letting up
Although the crisis in the business travel segment does not seem to be going away, there are still people willing to fight on the market of airline ticket issuing agents. They are not discouraged by other black clouds hanging over the market, such as the one related to sales insurance. It seems that the crisis may be an opportunity for them.
Small agents with greater opportunities
Small compact agents can still try to fight effectively in the market. Their advantage is limited to a minimum cost. After all, such offices are created mainly by airline cashiers, so they create de facto workplaces for themselves. Tickets can now be sold working from home, no need for office infrastructure – another big advantage for the little ones.
IATA regulations are also favorable, a small agent with its scale of operations can effectively use the prepaid option. It does not have to mobilize as much capital as the market giants. Apps are also in the succor when it comes to corporate tickets; hotel booking leader Ratehawk now also offers airline tickets. Small agents, therefore, can deftly maneuver by selling part of their offer through IATA’s own prepair and supporting themselves, if necessary, with external providers such as Ratehawk mentioned above.
Cashiers open their businesses
IATA agencies now opening, are largely just entities opened by airline cashiers themselves, who have said goodbye to their current employers. Trends on the market favor them. Well, certainly greater mobility of strictly Polish small and medium-sized companies – they are not subject to regulations and prohibitions on travel introduced by parent companies from abroad.
These significant restrictions hit large agents handling global projects. Small agencies also benefit from the relatively good economic situation in exotic group travel. Demand for Zanzibar, Dominican Republic, Mexico or Emirates was high basically throughout the year. This market is all about personal relations and ultra-personalised service – this is exactly what small agencies offer.
Tenders are tempting
We can also see a significant interest of small offices in public tenders. Recently m.in. UpHotel agency, previously known mainly for its activity in the hotel segment. IATA airline makes it much easier to compete in the segment of public tenders, and sometimes it is even indispensable.
Although it is difficult to count on small offices to permanently throw down the gauntlet to the hegemons of this segment, such as Why Not Travel. They can certainly spill some blood. Copying the model in which airline tickets are just an appetizer for the much more profitable hotel segment.
New IATA also on the MICE market – E-MICE is launched.pl
There was also the debut of a new IATA agent on the MICE market. In the end of the year an E-Mice agent was registered.pl from Poznan. Until now, MICE bureaus have tended to avoid investing in standalone ticketing, like IATA agents, and have been happy to use established consolidators like Primapol, Time4Travel, or Profi.
However, we can expect that hard times for the industry may push it to look for further savings and optimization. The area of tickets may be one of them, especially in the field of group tickets the imposition of prices is a common practice. It is difficult to say how profitable it is to become an IATA agent, but it seems that a reliable relationship with a good consolidator is a more sensible solution after all.
The only exception would be a situation in which an airline cashier was at the same time a MICE product manager, but this is a real rarity on the market.
The first year of operation of Travelpoint24 with success
A perfect example of jumping in at the deep end with one’s own airline ticket agent is the TravelPoint24 project, about which we have already written on WaszaTurystyka.en. Today, thanks to the kindness of its founders, we may tempt ourselves to summarize the passing year. The results for 2021 were indeed a positive surprise, the turnover generated exceeded expectations, leaving even a certain unsatisfaction. And this is a good sign for the future.
Travelpoint24 has specialized in servicing groups and small Polish companies, it also operates exactly in those segments in which we see the biggest opportunity for small agents. In 2021 sold mainly groups, and on destinations that do not surprise. So we have the Dominican Republic, Zanzibar, Madeira and Colombia. Kilimanjaro also appears, probably as part of the new offer Lufthansa, this is good news, because you can see that the demand for such gems is. The new Victoria Falls destination just announced will be no less popular.
In addition to satisfaction with the financial result, the founders also emphasize something that is difficult to assess, namely a significantly higher work&life balance. More time for family and hobbies is an important added value of going on your own. It can be assumed that the example of Travelpoint24 will be edifying for others hesitating before establishing their own ticketing mini agency.
There should always be room on the market for small players offering high quality and relational service. The growing potential of exotics and more regular flights to holiday destinations will further favor them.