Chapter 9 discussed what to sell. Chapter 10 will walk you through the steps of how to sell it, and the processes involved. Armed with the knowledge you have gained so far from this training, you will see that it’s all pretty simple.
Intro to Booking Platforms
This chapter will teach you how to book luxury air through a vendor. If you wish to book directly in the GDS under your own ARC you will need to spend months and months learning GDS, arrange your own air contracts, and apply for (and get approved for) an ARC. That’s why so many agencies rely on suppliers. What’s more, even agencies that do have their own ARC often turn to other suppliers who have better contracts when it comes to luxury air.
Full disclosure: For the purposes of this training, we illustrate the Regal Booking Platform (RBP). While each vendor will have their own platforms and processes in place, the basic workflow is pretty much the same across the board.
Set Up An Account
Most suppliers will require an account in order to do business with them. This is for two reasons:
- To ensure that they only deal with qualified travel professionals
- By having all your details and preferences in their system, they are able to serve you better
You can create an account by visiting your supplier’s website and following the instructions.
On the Regal Booking Platform illustrated below, the system does not automatically log you out. Therefore, as long as you don’t clear your browser cache, you can remain logged in, and you do not need to log in each time.
Step 1: Requesting a quote
Suppliers have two ways of furnishing quotes:
- Live booking engine: You instantly get all the results to your search – similar to passenger-facing OTAs like Expedia or Travelocity.
- Manual process: You submit the requests – usually via an online form. Then the suppliers research on their end, and get back to you within a few hours with the results.
So which one is better?
Consider this diagram:
As you can see, in order to get the best options, the most relevant results, and best pricing, you are much better off using a supplier that does manual research than a supplier that simply plugs in to an automated database.
It takes a bit longer, but it is definitely the better option in the long run – and by far the most common way of doing it.
Step 1.A – Submit Your Quote Request
Each time you receive a request from your client, log on to the supplier’s portal and enter all the info.
The page will look something like this:
Some portals allow experienced agents to save time by giving the option of “GDS paste”.
This allows you to search in your GDS, and then just copy and paste GDS code with the itinerary details into the form. You will save some time by not needing to fill out each field.
Step 1.B – Confirmation
Once you submit your quote request, you should receive a confirmation email from the supplier. You may also receive an email with an expected time frame for the quote response. Check out these examples:
Keep in mind the business hours of your supplier. Although they may offer after hours emergency services, they typically will limit fulfilment of new quotes to their business hours.
Step 1.C – Get quote from supplier
Once your supplier has researched all the available options, they will get back to you with an email quote. It should look something like the sample email below.
Notice that it already has the suggested fare for you to charge your client!
By now, you should have enough knowledge to understand all the components on the sample quote. Hopefully, it’s all starting to come together!
Step 2: Communicating with your client
Now it’s time for you to start working your magic!
Send your client the various options. Make sure to remove your costs and any other pertinent info that your client doesn’t need to see before you forward it. Sharing that with them wouldn’t be ideal, would it?
Very often, your client will want to change some itinerary details, or request some different options. That’s perfectly fine and par for the course. Just ask your supplier, and they will be glad to comply. Remember, they are your partner in this, and are there to help.
Step 3: Payment/Booking/Ticketing process
Once your client is ready to book, let your supplier know exactly which option has been chosen.
You should also send the names and birthdates of all the passengers, so that they can create a PNR.
They will then instruct you on how to complete the booking. Most suppliers will send you a form via email. You will be requested to do two things:
- Confirm all the details: It’s important to remember that it is your responsibility to ensure that the info is correct. Even the tiniest typo can be quite costly. Double check name spellings and birthdates with your clients
- Submit the payment: The payment form is pretty standard. Enter your credit card information here.
Tip from the Pros: When your supplier sends you the confirmation form, that means that they have created a PNR in the system. Although it isn’t confirmed and booked, it still exists as an unconfirmed PNR. You can place seats on hold for up to 24 hours without obligation to purchase. This will allow your client time to finalize their decision, and not lose the seat. However, the fare is not guaranteed until issued, and is subject to change. Your supplier will advise of the hold window for each unconfirmed PNR.
Once the payment is processed and the details confirmed, your supplier will go ahead and issue the tickets. They will then send them to you to forward to your client.
Congrats! You’ve just made your first sale!
The following few screenshots illustrate some of the steps in the payment and booking process.
Trip Details Confirmation
Passenger Details Confirmation
Passengers get to choose certain meal, seat and assistance preferences. It is crucial that you collect the info regarding their requests and pass it on to your supplier. Make sure that it is included on the final itinerary. We suggest that you have a checklist, and always double check at each point of the booking process.
Seat requests are simple. Besides the obvious ‘seat type’ – like recliner, lay flat etc., passengers can also request the location: window, aisle, or center.
Meals are a bit more complex. The GDS recognizes the meal codes in the table below. Ask your supplier if your client’s meal requests are available. They will look it up on the GDS for that specific flight and advise.
|Meal Type||Code||Meal Type||Code|
|Child Meal||CHML||No Salt||NSML|
|Diabetic Meal||DBML||No Lactose/Dairy Free||NLML|
|Fruit Only||FOML||Peanut Free||PFML|
|Gluten Free/Intolerant||GFML||Vegetarian (Hindu)||AVML|
|Hindu Meal||HNML||Vegetarian (Lacto-Ovo)||VLML|
|Kosher||KSML||Vegetarian (Strictly Raw)||RVML|
Sometimes, passengers will request special assistance. The table below has some of the GDS recognized Passenger Assistance Codes:
|Type of Assistance||Code||Type of Assistance||Code|
|Extra Seat||EXST||Wheelchair – Manual Power||WCMP|
|Hearing-impaired||DEAF||Wheelchair – Able to walk to seat||WCHS|
|Live Animal in Cabin||PETC||Wheelchair – Able to walk up stairs||WCHR|
Chapter 10 Takeaways…
- This chapter teaches how to book through a vendor
- Most vendors will require you to set up an account
- It is preferable to use a vendor that researches fares manually, than to use an automated booking engine
- The steps for completing a sale are:
- Request a quote from your vendor
- Discuss the options with your client
- Confirm the booking
- Experienced agents can save time by copying and pasting GDS code in the vendor’s portal
- Pay attention to special requests