ARTA Canada Decries Transat Comments on Commissions
Mr. Eustache Needs A Lesson in Travel Agency Economics
Toronto, 11 June 2010: Canada's Association of Retail Travel Agents (ARTA Canada) decried comments attributed today to Transat A.T. CEO Jean-Marc Eustache. The Financial Post reports that Mr. Eustache criticized the "crazy commissions that were being offered to travel agents by the scheduled carriers, which he said only resulted in the agents passing those commissions onto passengers in the form of discounts". It is reported that Eustache went on to say, "at the end of the day, you cannot continue to give those types of commissions".
ARTA Canada is outraged by Eustache's remarks which reflect a complete lack of understanding of and appreciation for the hard work retail travel agents provide carriers in both selling and servicing the airlines' air and air/tour products. What is even more surprising is that Transat has not only vertically integrated travel agencies within its own nest, it also pays travel agencies a variety of commission levels to push its products to consumers throughout the entire agency distribution channel.
"I think Transat's agency sales and marketing team would be quite taken back to hear Eustache's comments, and travel agents themselves do not appreciate this kind of rhetoric which undermines the growing and improved airline/agent relationships which have evolved over the past few years. Frankly, I'm shocked that Eustache evidences so little support for effectively remunerating the travel agency distribution channel", said ARTA Canada President Bruce Bishins.
ARTA Canada is equally concerned about any public remarks made by any carrier criticizing agent pay levels. Competition authorities in many jurisdictions do not take kindly to such public pronouncements which have the potential of being perceived as remuneration signaling.
It is equally surprising that Transat feels that agencies are so profitable that they can rebate their commissions to travellers. Agencies work under very narrow income margins, and few if any travel agencies can simply give away their commissions which are otherwise needed to pay agency operating costs and salaries.
If Transat is having a bad year, it is not because of travel agencies. Get a mirror, Mr. Eustache.
About ARTA Canada
ARTA Canada is the largest non-profit federally incorporated professional association of travel retailers in Canada, the members of which consist exclusively of travel agencies and travel agents. In addition to advocating fair and equitable treatment of travel consumers, ARTA Canada represents the commercial and strategic interests of its member travel agencies and travel agents in a variety of national and provincial domains including regulatory and legislative matters, automation, technology, sales and marketing, and distribution.
ARTA Canada is the strategic partner in Canada of the U.S.-based Association of Retail Travel Agents (ARTA). ARTA Canada is the Canadian member of UFTAA, the United Federation of Travel Agents' Associations. To join ARTA Canada, complete details and online membership application and secure payment are available on the ARTA Canada web site at www.artacanada.ca/join.