Operators are being asked to sign up to a charter to pledge they will honour agent commission payments for cancelled bookings where a charge is made to the customer.
The Fair Share code for the payment of commissions has been set up by agent campaign group TARGET amid concern members are not receiving commission on cancelled bookings or non-refundable deposits.
One TARGET member described the loss of a deposit as ‘pure profit to the tour operator’, but ‘absolutely nothing’ for the agent who often has put in many hours or days to secure the booking.
TARGET acknowledges many good operators do pay commission on cancelled bookings, but said it wants all operators to follow the same system.
TARGET has said it will produce a list of operators that have signed up to the Fair Share code.
Co-Founder Graeme Brett said: “We have been contacted by travel agents telling us of their frustration at receiving no commission payment from a small number of tour operators for deposits and bookings cancelled where a charge is made to the customer.
“If a customer is due a full refund we fully accept that travel agents will not receive any commission.”
The Fair Share Code is demanding that suppliers pay agent commission on deposits taken from customers instantly and, that when a booking is cancelled at loss of deposit or at a loss of a percentage of the booking, then the operator will pay the agent the relevant commission rate on the amount paid by the customer.
Co-Founder Jill Waite said: “Many tour operators already comply with the Fair Share code and we thank them for that.
“We are asking the remaining tour operators to agree to follow the Fair Share code to help travel agents improve their cash flow.
“We are sure that tour operators will see the benefit in supporting the Fair Share code as travel agents will be more inclined to support tour operators that are supporting them.”
To illustrate the need for the Fair Share code, TARGET has given examples of instances when agents have missed out.
For example, a travel agent received commission from a tour operator for a booking, which was then cancelled. The client lost a percentage of the booking cost, which the operator kept in full, including taking the commission back from the agent.
In another example, an agent collected a deposit from a customer on behalf of the tour operator, who did not pay commission on the deposit. The customer then cancelled. The tour operator confirmed no refund was due and keeps the deposit but does not pay anything to the agent, who spent time with the customer and incurred credit card and other costs processing the booking.
In a third instance, a travel agent made a booking and collected the deposit, which was required to be paid to the operator. The customer then changed their booking several times and is now due to travel in summer 2022.
The agent will not receive their commission until the customer pays their balance, even though the agent has incurred credit card fees to collect the booking and spent several hours dealing with the booking.
Ms Waite added: “We are asking all tour operators to sign up to our Fair Share code. We will produce a list of those operators who have signed up for our members to refer to.”
Operators who want to sign up to the Fair Share code on commissions can email: firstname.lastname@example.org