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Santa may drop big worry in stocking for travel agents

November 5, 2013 Corporate, Headline News 4 Comments Email Email

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A book panning travel agents and suggesting ways consumers can do better when booking a holiday directly themselves is about to hit the bookshelves.

Called ‘You Don’t Need A Travel Agent’, the book is not exactly what agents will welcome in the holiday season. What’s more, it’s written by a former travel agent, Luke Goudge, an Australian.

While the book doesn’t go on sale until January, advance orders are being taken already on a website and the book itself has received much exposure from News Ltd.

“Ever feel like you could have organised your trip better than your travel agent – but felt uncertain of where to start?… don’t worry, we are about to change all that!” says the book’s website www.ydnata.com, which includes the picture of the book’s cover shown here. thsf

“Join my mailing list below to be the among the first to get your hands on my new book and to be in the running to win one of 25 retro airline t-shirts…”

“Enter your e-mail address and take control of your own holiday!”

The website is set to be ramped up next month in the run-up to Christmas, with the book itself (publisher unspecified) going on sale in January.

It’s important not to confuse the site, www.ydnata.com, with www.dnata.com, which is that of dnata, one of the world’s largest air services providers, offering ground handling, cargo, travel and in-flight catering services across five continents. Ydnata appears to stand simply for the book’s title: You Don’t Need A Travel Agent.

Publicity about the book by News Ltd says Goudge “reveals the secrets and tricks of the business” such as the suggestion that some travel agents are driven by commission “to inflate their prices for unsuspecting holiday-makers in order to increase their own pay packets”.

Travel companies providing the largest commission percentages will typically be chosen, the book warns, and some unscrupulous agents will always promote to clients the airlines offering fatter commissions, regardless of connection times.

According to the News Ltd article, Goudge’s book says that some travel agents abuse their ability to ‘hold in’ seats, using dodgy practices like booking up the cheap seats under bogus names so clients can see only prices for the more expensive seats still available – even if clients conduct their own searches using internet booking engines.

The book takes a swipe at the expertise of agents, saying that because an agent may be dealing with a number of clients at any given time, they can make  potentially disastrous errors – “when even something as simple as a misspelt name can potentially ruin a holiday”.

When a travel agent says they have visited a destination before, they just might be making that up, the book says.

More details will emerge when the book hits the stands, but it’s not likely to be a great day for agents. AFTA may have to come up with a few counter arguments in advance.

Consumers don’t have a great record in booking their own holidays, of course, with the ACCC and most recently the Australian Federal Police issuing warnings about various online scams and ripoffs that can cheat travellers or even land them in prison. Just last week, a story emerged about a British woman who thought she had booked a flight to the city of Granada in Spain and realised only when in flight that she was headed instead to the Caribbean island of Grenada, a continent away.

When consumers make a booking error themselves, they have no-one to blame – or sue.

Written by : Peter Needham

Currently there are "4 comments" on this Article:

  1. Robin Woods says:

    A book denigrating travel agents from a guy who has spent 1 year and 7 months working in a Flight Centre? If that’s all he knows about how travel agents work, then it doesn’t say much about his experience in the industry does it?

  2. This guy is a disgrace to the travel industry! We are all trying to make a dollar and get by and support ourselves and children. Who does he think he is?

  3. Nicky Ross says:

    What a disgraceful person. Clearly he’s going to “flog” as many books as he can and make his own little pile of cash. How is that any different to anyone else in business? He works out the cost to produce the book, commissions to the book sellers and agents and then adds his markup. Duh!

  4. Robyn Lawley says:

    Luke your an idiot !
    You cant hold down a job – its speaks volumes about you!
    People that buy your book and take it as truthful would never book through a reputable agent anyway
    So write your heart out sunshine and your welcome to the commission “yes commission” that you receive from the sales of your book.

    Luke, I have followed some of your blog comments and they are trash, had you stayed in the industry with another company you
    would know that 90% of what your saying is wrong.

    Lets just say the industry is much better off with out your kind of morals.

    Luke why dont you go and do something that your parents would be proud of instead of denegrating an industry you know nothing about!

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