Also known as an airfare consolidator, airline consolidator, or fare consolidator, a consolidator’s role is much like a wholesaler. While consolidators do not “stack ‘em deep and sell ‘em cheap,” they have established relationships with airline carriers who provide net fares in order to sell their seats. The airlines post their fares or have special contracts in place with specific consolidators who then have to market the fares accordingly.
Originally, when a company like Sky Bird Travel & Tours was established back in 1976, the airlines were able to take advantage of a consolidator’s reach into various communities. In Sky Bird’s case, special rates and net fares allowed them to pass lower fares to travel agents who then could provide those flying to India to visit friends and family with an affordable option. Because Sky Bird maintained a strong presence with agents over the years, the air carriers continued to trust them to sell net fares to destinations not just in India, but all over the world.
So, what does it mean to book with a consolidator?
Lower costs for fares means travel agents have access to higher commissions on flights they would be booking anyway. Travel agents can keep travel costs low for their customers and oftentimes still mark up the price to cover commissions. Also, when it comes to special circumstances like name changes or cancellations, consolidators often have the ability to make these changes without the customer incurring any fees.
Working with a consolidator allows the travel agent to be more competitive. They can be the trusted travel advisor to their clients and sell both vacation packages and airfare all in one.
Choosing a Consolidator
You do not have to pick just one consolidator to work with. It is important to find a consolidator with a solid reputation, good customer service, and, of course, a constant influx of fares. A good consolidator will have established relationships with multiple airlines and be a part of a travel agent’s success, not just a means for them to buy fares.
Author Bio: Steven Hartman is a copywriter at the Travvy Award-Winning Sky Bird Travel & Tours. With 90+ airline contracts, 40+ years of experience, and a reputation of excellent customer service, Sky Bird is a leading airfare consolidator.