How Airline Consolidators Can Help with Large Group Bookings

If you’re not familiar with airline consolidators, you’re missing a tool that can take your business to the next level. Especially if you’re working with a large group! Consolidators not only save you time and hassle, they can get you better group tickets and rates. You no longer have to choose between making a decent commission and passing a discount on to your customers. Airline consolidators guarantee lower fares for your clients and better commissions for you – a win-win for everyone! Before you start booking your next large group of travelers, read this article to learn how airline consolidators can transform the way you book!

Photo: iStock

What is an airline consolidator?

Still a little fuzzy on what an airline consolidator actually is? Airline consolidators are brokers that buy seats in bulk from airlines and then resell those seats to travel agents at a discounted price. This arrangement provides value to both the airline and the agent. The airline gets greater exposure for their flight routes and ticket options while the agent gets low rates on airfare. This allows the agent to charge commissions while still giving clients a great deal. Agents who go through airline consolidators can sometimes get 40-60% off published fares for coach, business, or first class seat options!

Greater Buying Power

The biggest advantage that airline consolidators can give you and your large group of travelers is their greater buying power. It’s like getting a special “in” with an airline that is beneficial whether you are an at-home agent or part of large agency. An airline consolidator is only as good as its relationship with both parties, so try and find a consolidator who has been in the business for at least 10 years. This longevity will mean better partnerships and therefore better deals for you.

Airlines that have special contracts set up with consolidators give them a preferred status. Have you ever tried to book a large group on a flight only to be told there are no more seats available? Good airline consolidators can leverage their relationship to clear space and ensure the lowest possible fares. They also often have experienced ticketing specialists that can help handle even the most complicated group bookings. Trying to coordinate an around-the-world trip? Or maybe you’re faced with multiple-segment tickets? Leaning on years of experience can be a huge asset and allow you to handle even the most complicated group itinerary for a reasonable price. Whether you have 40 travelers all coming and going from different locations or are dealing with 15 travelers who need differing seat classes, working with a consolidator can simplify the process and ensure the best rates. Music to the ears of all travelers!

Using an airline consolidator ensures everything goes smoothly for your tour group. Photo: iStock

Why Book Large Groups?

If large groups require so much work and coordination, why bother? The answer is simple. Large groups mean more travelers which translates to more money for you! Airline consolidators can help with virtually any type of group booking you have on your hands. Whether your clients are soccer players heading to a championship game or a huge family attending a wedding, they will all appreciate your ability to get them the seats they need at the prices they want. If you’re not sure what kind of large group niches are available in the industry, some of these categories might just give your business the boost you’ve been looking for:

  • Many religious followers embark on a pilgrimage at some time in their life as a sign of faith. This is a great opportunity to make a lifelong journey as simple as possible for travelers.
  • Study abroad groups are common in high school and college. Sometimes the number of students traveling can be quite large, so the greater the purchasing power the better!
  • Many teams travel for big tournaments and championships. Make their travel plans as simple as possible so they can keep their head in the game.
  • It’s a growing trend for non-profits, faith communities, and just general volunteers to combine humanitarian efforts with touring the world. There’s strength in numbers! You can help these groups make the planet a better place while creating some great travel memories.

Additional Services

If you’re still not sure group travel is for you, look into some of the additional services airline consolidators can offer you. Some airline consolidators offer specialized assistance that can be the perfect solution to group travel anxiety. In addition to giving you access to increased purchasing power, such services help manage the unpredictable twists and turns that often accompany booking for a large group, like dealing with separate bookings, differing prices, and conflicting itineraries. A traveler needs to fly separately? No problem. Need to make varying ticket prices cost each traveler the same low fare? Simple. If this sounds like something that could improve your group booking process, contact your preferred airline consolidator to see if they offer these services. When you need some additional assistance along the way, a team of group travel experts can be a huge asset to handling your bookings with ease.

Photo: iStock

The Takeaway

Airline consolidators are able to get you more tickets for a better price. If you’re working with a large group of any kind, it’s in the best interest of you and your clients to use their services when booking flights. Some consolidators even have additional services that can help you coordinate all the nuances that come with booking for a large group of travelers. Make sure your clients get the best possible service and you’ll enjoy assisting them with all their future travel needs!

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