Robinson has activated the much discussed “Search & book” function in its own app, but at the last second found a counter-friendly solution: The app now contains the travel agency finder known from TUI.com. This means that the customer has “the choice of using the app to search for a travel agency in their area and to contact them with their booking request”, according to a letter to the top 50 sales partners.
With the integration, the club provider is responding to the sharp criticism from travel agencies regarding the app’s booking function. It was also one of the critical topics during the last Top 50 plenary session at Robinson Ierapetra.
Robinson points to strong competition
The TUI subsidiary’s argument in favor of the direct booking function, which has been available to all customers since today, is the “competition with other hotel companies whose apps usually offer direct booking functionality”. The current function is not yet a final solution: In future, the travel agency search will no longer be displayed separately, but rather be part of the “Book your stay” icon.
The reactions from sales are mixed. While some travel agency owners in conversation with touristik aktuell are happy that Robinson has complied with the wishes of traditional sales and implemented the corresponding technical solutions, others remain skeptical.
TUI boss Joussen: focus on direct sales
They are convinced that on the way to direct sales, the concessions to travel agencies are of little value in the long term. The booking function in the Robinson app is nothing more than the implementation of the goals of TUI boss Fritz Joussen.
At the 2019 Annual General Meeting, he clearly stated that, based on strong brands, direct sales via your own apps were the cheapest and best sales channel. In this way, you not only save sales and Google costs, but you also have direct access to customer data.
Travel agencies feel taken advantage of
What annoys many travel agencies: When TUI and Robinson introduced apps, the management would have declared “sacred” that they would only offer additional services, but no booking options. At the same time, the travel agencies were asked to “make the apps appealing to customers” and to help them with the installation and operation.
Exactly this assistance is suddenly becoming a competitive disadvantage, fear numerous travel agencies and already have a horror scenario in mind: “If Robinson approaches customers with exclusive discount codes for birthdays, for example, he is gone for us”.