Original Research

The supplier relationship practices of travel agencies in the Western Cape Province - What is the status quo?

Mornay Roberts-Lombard
Acta Commercii | Vol 10, No 1 | a107 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ac.v10i1.107 | © 2010 Mornay Roberts-Lombard | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 06 December 2010 | Published: 06 December 2010

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Mornay Roberts-Lombard, University of Johannesburg, South Africa

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Abstract

Purpose: The purpose of the article is to explore the supplier relationship practices of travel agencies in the Western Cape province. The article wants to establish the current supplier relationship practices of travel agencies in the province and to identify limitations in supplier market relationships which might exist in the industry.

Problem investigated: Relationships are the basis on which trade in the travel industry is built (George, 2006:224). The establishment and management of these relationships must be to the advantage of all parties in the relationship (Swart, 2003:120). Townes (2007) indicated that the current level of relationships that exists between travel agencies and their suppliers, especially the South African Airways (SAA), the Protea and Southern Sun hotel groups and motor vehicle rental companies such as AVIS is fragmented and negatively impairs on the ability of travel agents to deliver a quality service to their customers. To improve their overall level of service delivery to both corporate and leisure customers, it is important for travel agencies to know and understand the current level of their relationships with suppliers. It is against this background that the research was undertaken.

Methodology: The target population for this study was 118 travel agencies of which 61 managers and/or owners participated through personal interviews in the completion of questionnaires. Data analysis was done by calculating averages and standard deviations, Explorative Factor Analysis (EFA), Cronbach Alpha-values and practical significance by means of effect sizes.

Findings: The owners and managers of travel agencies are of the opinion that the strengthening of their existing relationships with suppliers must be prioritised. More emphasis should be placed on the strengthening of existing communication channels between travel agencies and their suppliers to secure the faster resolution of queries and complaints and to enhance the sharing of information, skills and knowledge between the two parties. The results further indicated that the development of long term relationships with suppliers are important for the future existence of the travel agency industry in the Western Cape. The establishment of these relationships must, however, be to the advantage of both parties in the relationship

Conclusion: Travel agencies and their suppliers should work in collaboration to improve their service delivery to customers by sharing information on product development, marketing and promotional strategies as well as future distribution initiatives. It is also important that both travel agencies and their suppliers should believe in the long term value of establishing a relationship with each other. It is for this reason that trust and commitment are prerequisites for the establishment of such a relationship.


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