Dear Travel Agents,
Continuing our discussion about Tour Operators and DMCs (Destination Management Companies), I want to explore the concept of dealing with those types of companies that operate in other countries. Many times, travel agents think that they can save money by buying directly through these foreign operators and then adding their profit onto the package. They then sell the package directly to the traveling client and collect the payment.
Let me explain the risks of this procedure:
- The client will be paying the travel agent under contract and law of the US, or Canada, (depending on the agent’s location). If anything goes wrong, they can sue YOU, the travel agent.
- You, the travel agent, buy the tour package from a foreign company that observes the laws of a foreign country. Even the biggest company can go bankrupt, especially in a country where you don’t know anything about the economy.
- If any problems or price changes on a tour package occur, the only recourse for the agent would be going after the foreign company. Hiring a foreign attorney and having to battle a fight in court in another country, based on their laws and rules, would be a nightmare.
Remember that “reputation” is a travel agent’s middle name. To build a solid business takes time, but to destroy it can take only seconds.
My recommendation is to deal only with solid tour operators in the US or Canada that represent DMCs and have a one-million-dollar errors and omissions insurance policy in place. Let your client sign a contract with those tour operators, and pay them directly while you, the travel agent, get your commission from them separately.
Work with tour operators who work only with travel agents, or those that respect the relationship between client/travel agent, like many cruise lines do.
Travel agents build their businesses with knowledge, spending quality time with their clients, and most importantly, by caring for each and every person they deal with.
Believe in yourself and protect your business!