Agents advised to be positive about charges

Agents advised to be positive about charges

BUSINESS travel agents should look at introducing management fees as a positive opportunity for improving the way their businesses are run, according to the Travel Training Company.

The organisation launched a series of management fees seminar for business travel agents last week in London. The one-day course is aimed as an introduction to management fees and covers why fees are necessary, the different types of management fee, how they work in other industries and how to introduce them to clients.

Finance and marketing consultant Steve Dunnigan who runs the course, is responsible for developing the management-fee structure for Hogg Robinson. "There is an element of fear attached to fees, but there are just as many stories that say if you don't move to fees your business is dead. It is the fear of the unknown which frightens agents as the management fees road is something that is very new," he said.

"However, I see it as an opportunity for agents to look at their business, see where they are and where they want to go and to improve their bottom line."

Dunnigan said there is no right or wrong way to introduce management fees and, as every client is different, what suits one will not suit another.

"There is no standard, no off-the-shelf formula.In reality, if you look at the market now you would think that there are hundreds of different types out there but generally they are based on four different types," he said.

"The difficulty is the way agents go about telling their clients they must now pay for a service they had initially not had to pay for. This can make the client feel very unloved and they may want to go somewhere else.

"Really, it is not the fact that people want to charge fees but it is the way they go about telling explaining it to the client. As long as you can justify the change to your clients then you are there."

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