Tourism

“Agents and travellers were confused”: Topdeck scraps food offering

Topdeck has shaken up its food offering, and by shaken up we mean removed it all together.

The idea is to give travellers one final price that includes both trip costs and food.

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This is big news for agents and consultants, as it means they will now earn commission on the total cost of the trip rather than just the tour price.

To find out more about how the removal will change both the booking process and the Topdeck experience as a whole, Travel Weekly sat down with Topdeck APAC regional manager Ben Ittensohn to find out all the juicy details.

Travel Weekly: What does the food fund cover?

Ben Ittensohn: Topdeck Travel’s food fund was a separate breakdown of costs that highlighted the price of food on the specific trip it was related to. This break down sat parallel to the trip cost and when added together, they equalled the total cost of any chosen Topdeck trip for the customer.

TW: Why did Topdeck decide to merge the food fund into the overall trip cost?

BI: We found that agents and consumers alike were fairly confused by the concept of a separate food fund, mainly because it is both outdated and redundant in today’s climate. Everyone now just wants to know how much their holiday will cost them as a singular price, especially when consumers need to also factor in their insurance, flights, visas and spending money.

For agents and our trade partners, the simplicity around the one single cost is easy to convey to their customers, plus, the more important benefit to the agents is they will now receive commission on the total trip price, rather than one part of the segmented cost.

Topdeck knows how hard agents work every day and believe they should receive the most commission possible for their efforts. Simplicity, transparency and getting a great return for our travel agents and customers were the most important driving factors when we decided to merge to one total trip cost and scrap the out dated food fund concept.

TW: How much is a food fund generally on its own? Merged into the overall cost, how much more commission (on average) do you expect Agents will receive?

BI: On average the food fund made up 10-20% of the total trip price, depending on the trip this can become a fairly hefty loss of commission for agents. By incorporating the food fund cost into the overall price, the agents will receive the same 10-20% increase in their commission.

As an example, for last year’s 36 Day European Pioneer itinerary, the trip price was $5175.00AUD plus the food fund which was $1020.00AUD, equalling $6195.00AUD. For the trip the food fund was 16% of the total cost meaning the travel agent missed $142 in commission.

Topdeck want to take care of the agents that live and breathe our brand and we see this as a great way to prove this to them and thank them for their support.

TW: Do you think this also helps simplify the selling process for Agents?

BI: Most definitely, this change removes the unnecessary complication of segmented costings. The agent’s feedback when originally asked what the food fund was all about in youth travel was wide and varied so we decided to get rid of it plain and simple.

Another benefit is that when a discount is applied to a trip, customers will now receive a discount on the total trip price, meaning bigger savings and happier customers! Previously this discount would only apply to the trip cost, with no discount benefit going towards the food fund.

TW: How do you see this positively impacting Topdeck’s overall sales?

BI: We want to be a true business partner with the agents out their everyday loving and selling Topdeck to their customers. We want to help simplify the selling process for agents and ensure they receive all the benefits possible keeping Topdeck front of mind when talking to anyone wanting a truly authentic global adventure.

On top of this one of Topdeck’s values is loving our customers, and we think this is the perfect step forward to show them we’re following through on that. Another one of our values is hassle free travel, and we are living up to that by making the booking process as hassle free as possible.


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