Blake Wolfe is an award-winning journalist and editor, who joined PAX after nearly 10 years in Canada’s newspaper industry. In addition to PAX, his work has been featured in publications such as the Metroland Media group of newspapers and the Toronto Sun.
While Swoop’s new group booking desk is being billed as a tool that can assist travel agents, the ULCC has no plans to pay commission to agents who book their clients’ airfare with the carrier.
READ MORE: Swoop insists agents & airline can be friends, despite lack of booking commissions
The new group booking desk – “designed to facilitate flight bookings and reservation management for groups of 13 or more travellers,” Swoop said in a press release – will include one checked bag and a standard seat assignment per traveller, along with the support of a group booking agent when making reservation modifications. A one-time service fee of $5 (plus applicable taxes) per traveller applies at the time of booking. Travellers will also have the option to purchase optional extras and/or upgrade their seats through the booking agent.
According to Swoop spokesperson Karen McIsaac, the airline sees the new group booking tool as a potential draw for travel agents to book their clients through Swoop, described in a press statement as now being “confidently considered as an attractive option for travel agents and individuals alike” with the advent of the group desk tool.
McIsaac confirmed to PAX that there are currently no plans to offer commission on base fares to travel agents, explaining that the carrier is instead focusing on “increasing our customer service capability.” According to McIsaac, Swoop has seen interest “from a number of travel agents, most of whom were inquiring about destination wedding options.
“We’ve received feedback from agents that they’re looking for easier ways to work with us and the introduction of the group booking desk provides a more responsive touchpoint than we’ve previously offered. Choosing Swoop stretches the client’s dollar and allows the agent to upsell other parts of the vacation experience, providing better value for the overall package.
In a previous interview with PAX, Swoop President Steve Greenway said that despite a lack of agent commissions, “our low air ticket fares are a draw for many agents, who can then capitalize on the margins that land content provides.”