Carlson Wagonlit Travel has warned that Lufthansa’s new approach to distribution will push up costs for its clients.
The German airline has introduced a €16 booking fee and a direct connect approach that allows Lufthansa’s flights to be booked through distribution partners such as Google rather than use the GDSs.
The TMC said there are “fundamental issues” with both and added there is currently “no viable” solution that exists to avoid the fee without “resulting in increased cost to main existing services and value for clients”.
CWT’s executive VP and head of global supplier management, Scott Brennan, outlined the main issues around direct connect:
- Fragmentation of content that creates complex, manual searching and booking
- Less comprehensive comparison shopping resulting in reduced visibility of competitive fares
- Limitations for TMCs to communicate directly with travellers or to assist with travel changes or during emergencies
- Fragmented data for reporting and traveller tracking
- Additional cost – even if Lufthansa’s €16 fee is avoided – to bring bookings made directly with Lufthansa back into the managed program and to manage inefficiencies and complexities related to changes, exchanges, refunds, invoicing and reporting
The Google deal was the latest move by Lufthansa to change the way it distributes flights, which has included the introduction of a €16 fee for every booking through a GDS from September 1.
The GDS fee has proved controversial with travel buyers - a survey by the GBTA last month found that around half of global travel buyers had reduced bookings with the airline since the charge was introduced.