“Dairy Wars” should scare the travel agent

The “Dairy Wars” and agents battling large OTA’s have staggering similarities.  Can agents , and the general public, learn?

“Dairy Wars” is one of the most important stories of 2016.

Underdog farmers are the collateral damage as lumbering,  untouchable “imperialist Bullies” wage a price war in which they are the only winners.

Clever bullies “tapping” into the public “bargain” mentality and dramatically reduce the price of everyday items to get feet through the door. Milk becomes a dollar a litre. Cheaper than supermarket water. Cheap is in, quality and the bigger picture no longer important.

Murray Goulburn, the middleman, are telling farmers they have been overpaid up to $400,000. They want it back. Financial ruin beckons.

This obsession with “cheap” and “home brand” are hurting the farmer. The real people.

Waleed Aly started the rally  and the cause got visibility and consumers are fighting back, voting with their feet, dollars and social media vitriol. “Home brand milk” is a dirty word and the product  remains on shelves whilst the branded, more expensive product, sells out. 50c a litre more to help a family? I’m in on that.

 

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The consumer rescues the Aussie dairy farmer. Whose helping the smaller travel agent?

Is it so different in travel?

The big boys play pricing wars on a big data technology battlefield out of reach of small and medium agents. OTA’s with affiliate offers simultaneously screwing travel agents and hotels.  Hotels want a front page listing?  We need a 40% margin.  Agents still see “glossy and cheap” at the start but as commission and rewards points drop off, that value proposition is not so good. Still want that home brand milk?

For the past 9 years agents have told us how they are losing business to OTA’s. The same, massive companies, with questionable tax practices, who can advertise on television, are selling to agents. Agents are even attending “travel agent events” sponsored by these OTA’s. You think they care about you? You are PAYING to go to the event? Would farmers go to a “farmer centric” event sponsored by a supermarket chain?

How would the public respond?

 Australians DO have a conscience when it comes to the way they spend money.

“Sure sir, you can buy that on xxxx. Why not click here and read about what people think  after they have used them.”

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Would a push to use a local travel agent, based not only on value proposition and service, generate the same public support?  Has anyone tried?

How are travel agents responding

OTA’s with affiliate programs are my competition. But myself and my competitors, will never understand agents who are cutting off their nose to spite their face by continuing to support OTA’s who are their competition.

Every time an agent uses one of these OTA’s they are shortening the lifespan of their employment and business prospects.

Does it occur to agents that they DO NOT have to use their competition?

How are the OTA’s responding?

Not at all. Don’t have to. Agent’s are still paying them.

The lesson for agents?

Look for the similarities in the milk wars to the challenges you face in your business. Be brave, step up and make a stand. Whilst you are at it, suggest to AFTA you have an idea for your next marketing campaign.

So whilst the Australian public gathers momentum to support the small and medium size businesses around dairies, travel agents can start by helping themselves.

Then maybe the public will as well.

 

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