ChinaTravelNews – China Southern Airlines has not let up the pressure on ticketing agents recently. After banning agents from offering special or package deals to lower than its official airfare last month, the carrier has issued another notice to ticketing agents and tour operators this month stipulating sales by official website only under certain circumstances.
The tactic to divert traffic to its own website in order to boost direct sales is widely seen as China Southern “squeezing out” ticketing agents to meet government inspection committee demands.
Sales limited to China Southern website
China Southern’s “notice of sales procedure” issued on June 4 outlines sales measures launched on its official website, including measures for long-term and peak season periods.
Long-term sales policies include:
Tickets for the row T seats in China Southern’s economy class for 30- or 60-day advance bookings are sold only on its official website.
After super economy class seats on China Southern’s domestic flights are filled to 70%, the remainder seats are sold only on its official website.
After economy class seats on China Southern’s domestic flights are filled to 90%, the remainder seats are sold only on its official website.
All measures are effective immediately until further notice.
Peak season sales policies include:
All super economy class seats on China Southern’s domestic flights are sold only on its official website.
After luxury class seats on China Southern’s domestic flights are filled to 80%, the remainder seats are sold only on its official website.
China Southern under pressure to cut out ticketing agents
Industry observer and ChinaTravelNews columnist Jianyun Ning cited the Communist Party inspection report on China Southern Airlines released in April to interpret China Southern’ s latest move.
“(China Southern) must resolve ticket sales issues by conducting a purge of ticketing agents with strict assessment and certification and ramping up development of direct sales. In Q1 of 2015, direct sales revenue of the holding company increased 38% y-o-y and direct sales ratio increased by 4.6 percentage points to 20.5% y-o-y. Direct sales must grow by more than 10% this year.”
Mr. Ning said: “As we can see, China Southern has been taking a series of steps to drastically increase its direct sales capacity to meet the demands of the government inspection. Its latest notice is just another attempt to further rein in ticketing agents while bolstering the sales rate, gaining a product advantage and attracting customers to buy tickets from the airline’s own website. Of course things will only get worse for the ticketing agents and they would do well to change their game plan sooner than later. Ticket agents can add other quality products to air tickets and use tickets merely as a tool to draw and retain customers while earning profits from other products.”
(Reporting by Xianhao Zeng)
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(Translation by David)