Suppliers that hold on to refunds have no right to be used

It will always be impossible to accurately predict the final spend when invoicing in advance of departure.

Clients, quite rightly, expect us to complete a financial reconciliation as quickly as possible post-event, and as soon as this is agreed, to repay any and all monies due back to them. We consider this to be an integral part of our providing a professional service. Yet, why are we coming across more and more occasions when overseas suppliers hold on to refunds?

Since April, we have been in receipt of a post-event statement from a Belgian DMC that confirms that a significant sum is to be returned to us and our client. Needless to say, we settled with our client straight away, but still await the repayment from Belgium.

This is extremely disappointing and I will, of course, place future business accordingly, which is sad after the operations people worked hard and delivered effectively.

There is an ever-growing number of overseas suppliers (mainly DMCs) who now demand full pre-payment on the basis that they have lost money previously by working with less scrupulous agencies. I understand this, but I find it difficult to accept that trustworthy agencies should be penalised because suppliers have chosen to work with less professional outfits.

Responsible agencies understand that all suppliers need pre-payment to cover their own expenses. However, we cannot be expected to trust them with 100% upfront if they or their peers are going to turn this to their advantage when credit remains.

I for one would find it extremely useful to find out from other agencies which suppliers are guilty of withholding refunds so we can take this into account when deciding whether or not to use them in future.

Ray Roberts is director of Travel Impact.

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