The fast-paced nature of the travel and hospitality industry is a large draw for many travel agents. Being able to provide a variety of services to multiple clients is a time-consuming endeavor, but is more often than not one of the most rewarding experiences out there.
With so much going on, however, it’s easy to overlook some of the day-to-day activities happening behind the scenes. One of the biggest administrative challenges has to do with commission collection from hotel partners. From time to time, the amount of commissions you are expecting to receive don’t align with what they are sending. This discrepancy can often cause pause between you and your hotel partners, but with a little preparation, you can make these inquiries as seamless as possible.
Have Your Contract On Hand To Review
Whenever you believe there’s a dispute, it’s always good practice to review your contract to ensure you have a full understanding of what’s expected of both parties. Make sure to look for the following items:
- Contract Timelines: What is the time period that your contract covers? Are you seeking to collect on transactions that fall outside of the timeline? Knowing the time frame can help you narrow down outstanding or unpaid commissions.
- Commission Rates: Are your negotiated rates clearly outlined? In addition, are there any special rates that are dictated in the contract? If your discrepancy is due to a misunderstanding – for example, expecting a higher commission for a luxury suite versus a standard room – you may gain clarity by reviewing the rate terms.
- Dispute Remedies: Does your contract include a grace period provision? Are there any other remedies outlined? Knowing exactly how you can pursue and resolve a dispute can help keep you on track when reaching out to your hotel partners.
If you’ve reviewed the contract and everything appears in line, you should reach out to your legal representative to take a look as well. Having someone cut through the legalese can help you uncover items you may have missed, or gain understanding on items that you’ve reviewed.
Verify Data Accuracy
After reviewing the contract but before reaching out to your hotel partners, it’s helpful to double check the details surrounding your transactions and commission payments to make sure everything is accurate. Are the daily rates correct? Have all of the check-in and check-out dates been validated? Have any special concessions or discounts been applied?
More often than not, when there are discrepancies with commission payments, it’s due to one or more of these reasons, so checking these first can help you clear up issues.
Address Your Concerns Quickly
If all of your records are accurate and you still feel that you are owed more, it’s time to reach out to your hotel partners – sooner rather than later. When the checkout dates in question are recent, payment disputes are more likely to be resolved quickly, so be sure to bring up concerns as soon as you notice them. To save time in the event that you do need to make an inquiry, you can maintain a hotel database with pertinent information:
- Hotel Account Contact: It’s likely that you speak to several people in each hotel group during your course of business, so determining the key contact or contacts can help save you from unnecessary call transfers
- Preferred methods of contact: Knowing how your contact prefers to communicate can also go a long way in helping ensure you get to a timely resolution
- Hours and turn times: Make a note of your contact’s hours of operation so you can contact them at optimal times. In addition, verify whether or not your contract has a resolution timeline so you can manage accordingly. If the contract doesn’t specify, reach out to your contact in advance so you can gauge timelines for any future disputes
Look For Payment Trends
As a last step, take a glance at the hotel’s payment history to pick up on any payment trends. Are you noticing that payments are consistently late around a certain time of the month? Or do the payments for certain types of transactions arrive before others? Looking at some of the trends can help give clarity into payment cycles and when you can expect to receive your commissions.
If you’re noticing frequent delinquencies, you may need to dig a little deeper.
- Are your invoices being sent to an old or outdated address or email? Delays in payment could be due to delays in receipt, so verify this information with your contact
- Is the right person receiving invoices? Confirm where requests for payment are expected to be delivered. Your point of contact may assist with day-to-day operations, but a different team may handle payments, so ensure your invoices are in the right hands
- Are the payment terms clearly listed on your invoices? If any components of the commission payment terms are missing, it may be worth it to add them on future invoices so that payors are fully aware of expectations
Leverage A Partner To Manage Inquiries
The complexity of managing commission payments may seem daunting, but it’s not impossible. Being diligent about verifying transactions and follow up can go a long way in helping you receive as many commission payments as possible.
Staying on top of everything can be a challenge, though, if you don’t have the internal bandwidth. But no worries – Onyx CenterSource has two platforms created specifically to help agencies maximize their commission potential.
- Sure Pay is an industry-leading payment system for travel agents, corporate travel departments, travel management companies, and other travel distributors, helping hotel bookers in more than 160 countries recover hotel commission payments in a more cost-efficient and timely manner. Once your data is connected with the Sure Pay system, we will verify transaction information and consolidate your commission payments in the currency of your choice, saving money on bank fees and overhead
- RecoverPro helps you receive more of the commission you’re owed by managing every aspect of reconciling, tracking and accounting for payments owed from any hotel with which your agency does business, all over the world. When commissions are unpaid or inaccurate, the Onyx customer service team will manage inquiries on your behalf for up to a full year, ensuring the greatest likelihood of commission recovery.
If you’re ready to receive more commissions faster, contact us today to see how Onyx can help streamline your processes.