Plan to Go Agreements and You!
Recently on the Travel Professional Travel Community (www.TravelProfessionalCommunity.com) there have been several conversations about agents doing work without being paid for it. This has taken the shape of pricing requests where the client then books with an online agency, product requests that the client then shops on the Internet and books directly, clients using Craigslist, VRBO and other online sites after the agent spends time investigating properties for a client and several other scenarios where the agent researches on behalf of a client only to have the client take the information on the Internet and shop price.
Imagine going to an attorney who examines your situation and then advises you as to the exact solution that you will need to seek. What if he or she did not request a retainer and did the work for free? You could then take the information the attorney provided and shop for the result the attorney described based on price on the Internet. I am sure that you can see why lawyers always have a signed attorney/client Agreement and collect a retainer before starting the necessary research on behalf of the client. If the client decides to shop for the solution once the attorney has concluded his or her assessment and advised the client, the retainer would be used to compensate the attorney for his labor and advice.
Travel professionals are put into the same situation when a client asks an agent to research their vacation. Once the agent understands the client’s needs and wants, they can drill down to the right choice for the client’s consideration. This work takes time, effort and a depth of product knowledge to focus on the perfect match for the client. Once the client knows the exact product, date and category, they will be tempted to shop for the best possible price. Unfortunately, if the travel professional has not garnered a “retainer” from the client it is quite likely that his or her effort might go unrewarded if the client ends up booking online for a discount.
This is where a “Plan to Go” Agreement should enter the relationship between the travel professional and the client. A “Plan to Go Agreement” is different from a “Service Fee Agreement” in that the travel professional is requesting a deposit from the client that will be used as the travel agent’s remuneration should the client not conclude the booking with the agency. Generally, a Plan to Go deposit (or part of it) is used for the purpose of either the deposit or as part of the final payment towards the client’s vacation if the booking is given to the agent and a commission is earned. However, each agent may have their own formula for their Plan to Go Agreement. One agent on the TravelProfessionalCommunity.com has shared his Internet Plan to Go Agreement where he encourages his clients to shop the Internet for the best possible price before booking with his agency after he has advised the client as a result of his professional consideration. If they can find it less expensive, he keeps the deposit for his work and expertise. Here is a sample Plan to Go Agreement that you can feel free to modify and use for your agency.
Plan to Go Agreement
Your Logo and Info Here
Plan to Go Deposits Are Required On All Itineraries
In order to perform the professional services required to plan and arrange your travel to ______, a deposit is required. The deposit is non-refundable, but 100% is applied toward the cost of your vacation. Vacation planning involves much time. My work is based on years of personal experience and professional expertise. I research cruises, hotels and tours to meet your specific needs, contact suppliers, coordinate transportation, and draft itineraries. Your final itinerary and documents will give you as smooth a vacation as is possible. Once (Your Agency Name)l has constructed your itinerary, you are free to shop it on the Internet, or wherever you would like. If you choose to book your vacation with another agency, the Plan to Go Deposit will be retained by (Your Agency Name)l as payment for services rendered. All vacations arranged through (Your Agency Name) offer peace of mind, as we are experienced professionals in the business of planning individual travel for sophisticated travelers who demand the most professional individual attention to detail and execution of a well planned vacation.
Deposit Required To Plan Vacation
Plan to Go Deposit: ______ passengers @ $_____ each = $ ________ Plan to Go Deposit
TOTAL DEPOSIT DUE: $ _______
If paying by check please make check payable to _______________________________.
Credit Card Deposits
Master Card VISA American Express Discover (please circle type) ($____ fee applies)
We will need a copy of the front and back of your credit card OR the CSC number on your card.
Account #:________________ Exp___/___/___ CSC (Card Security Code)___________
Name as it appears on Credit Card:___________________________________________
Signature:__________________________________ Phone #:______-______-_______
I agree with the above terms and conditions and engage ________ Travel to research my vacation plans. I agree that if I decide not to continue with the vacation or I book it with another agency, that _____ Travel will be entitled to retain the Plan to Go Deposit as remuneration for efforts made on my behalf.