Monday, 17 September 2012
Who truly understands car hire except those who are in the business of hiring out cars? On one side you have the 'premium' companies such as Avis and Hertz and then, well, everyone else! Unlike airlines the car hire companies offer the same directly comparable means of transport but at different prices. Why? How? After many years in the TMC business I still haven't a clue. Well not really! I expect the bigger companies are global and have a bigger inventory but should they cost so much? OK, so they can (or could) afford to pay middle men incentives to promote them. And they could always leverage their coverage and reputation but even so the price gap is simply too high. So what are they doing about it? I guess they are doing what everyone else is doing i.e. reducing their overheads and becoming more competitive. Or are they? Who knows? Car Hire has started to shift away from travel procurement anyway. Good job too if everyone else understands as little as me.
Thursday, 13 September 2012
Submitted by Mike Platt on Thu, 2012-09-13 16:59. It is regretable that Richard Branson seems to have thrown all his toys out of the cupboard over the West Coast rail service. I know he can be petulant but this is taking it to extremes. To my mind the process went that the government went to tender, people bid, bids were evaluated and the successful candidates notified. Quite stanard and quite reasonable. Now I know the government ties itself up in rules and regulations which are further exacerbated by European legislation and this is what I presume Mr Branson is trying to manipulate. I personally have been through all this during the MOD travel tender and, although they thought about it, none of the other contenders considered they would gain in the long or short term by formally objecting to the process. For once I am four square behind the government on this. The fact that the man is Richard Branson should not be enough to drive anyone into a U-turn on a decision based on price and service. If they fail? Well then a review might be necessary and MR B will have his chance again.
Monday, 10 September 2012
Selling rail tickets is a real pain....if you are a TMC. First there is the illusion that rail is cheap and second, the illusion that it is easy! I swear it would be easier to accurately predict the weather than consistantly find low prices in peak periods! Poor old TMCs have to provide this service if they wish to offer a full 'one stop shop' package of products. There is no point in saying you will provide lucrative air products and then suggest they do what they like with rail. It just does not fit and invites segmentation of all services. Meanwhile their online rail booking specialist 'partners' sit like vultures on the sidelines ready to zoom in after the kill. These operators such as Trainline and Evolvi in Europe have set up their services to support direct sell at a price. TMCs can only sell at that price plus some. Each tries to negotiate what that 'plus' will be and uses their current 'one stop' offering as a compelling bargaining chip. And the traveler? I can here him now."What,you expect me to pay these people a fee for a RAIL ticket? I can get what I need at the station". They have a point, they can get it at the station if they have the time/inclination to search for it. Rail commision used to pay for a lot of this but that too is diminishing. Oh what joy is net pricing. Then you have the American buyer with their fascination for transaction fees. In the USA most travel is by air but when they buy in Europe they seem to get amnesia over the subject. The travel type percentages are radically different here but they really do not recognise this as an issue. It is. Transaction fees work in the USA. In Europe they don't. The European market is crawling with these fees but they do not really work and TMCs find all sorts of ingenious ways to get round them. Everything from declaring rail bookings as 'free' but hiking air rates to compensate or perhaps outsourcing rail to an online self book service (at higher rates)and charge a small ticketing fee. Somebody really has to do the Maths here and either pay up centrally or give up on your TMC all inclusive service.
Sunday, 2 September 2012
The vast majority of TMCs (even the larger ones) still rely heavily on supplier income despite what they may say. Could you survive and thrive on what you pay them? I don't think so. There are ways and means now to get the definition of these 'incentives' changed so they are not included in any corporate deal. Agents have needed to do this in order to fund central and associated costs plus earn sufficient ROI.