Travel Consolidators Explained

In today’s economic climate it is important that Personal Assistants secure the best possible price when booking travel. Travel consolidators are high-volume ticket brokers for discount flights. They purchase large volumes of flight tickets and sell them to customers for a lower price than the airline's published fare.

Travel consolidators can negotiate good discounts because of the sheer volume of tickets they purchase. Some consolidators have contracts with airline companies. They usually negotiate for a specific region; a destination that is popular with travellers, which makes ticket sales more likely.

Some consolidators are even owned by the carriers themselves. Big airline companies may have several travel consolidators under their wing, which helps with the disposal of unsold tickets. Travel consolidators can purchase tickets at a discounted price right up to the date of departure.

Each airline uses its own system of variables to calculate ticket price. This often determines the popularity of a particular route. Variables includes: season, local events, time of flight, and pricing trends of competing airlines. Knowing when to book a flight to take advantage of the lowest fare is difficult to gauge. When booking domestic travel, it's better to wait until the last minute to buy tickets, provided you can be flexible about your destination.

People are often miffed when they discover that the person sitting next to them on their flight has paid a much lower airfare – sometimes the fare is significantly lower. This could give the impression that travel consolidators do not make much of a profit, but that is not necessarily the case because consolidators also sell tickets at the regular published fare.

There are different types of travel consolidators. Some specialize in wholesale ticket sales, where they resell their tickets in volume at low margins to travel agencies. Other consolidators specialize in multi-stop destinations. This is a difficult market in which to make significant profits. Some consolidators are destination specialists with a smaller customer base. These consolidators negotiate significant discounts, then bundle flights with other services like hotel and car hire.

Some consolidators are online ticket specialists like and Expedia is the largest of the travel consolidators. It offers discounted tickets with hundreds of airlines.

The success of online consolidators is partly due to the reduction of overheads and the fact that online businesses can reach a wider market. Customers are happy to forfeit the human contact they get with a travel agency, in return for discounted fares and the facility to instantly compare prices.

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