INTERNATIONAL COMMISSIONS Quick Reference for Travel Agents
This overview provides essential information for Hilton’s travel agents so that they can maximise their benefits from Hilton’s Centralised Commission Processing (“CCP”) and Perot’s Travel Agency Commission Settlement (“TACS”) system. This supplements the information provided by International Commissions, distributed by Hilton Sales and posted on www.hiltontravelagents.com and www.hiltonUKcommissions.com. An additional 2-page guide to the Perot TACSnet website is provided separately.
With CCP, Hilton consolidates and pays individual commissions, also known as transient commissions, through TACS to give agents one payment, one statement and one contact for logging inquiries for all participating Hilton Family hotels. CCP commissions exclude groups and C&B commissions and any other commissions paid directly by hotels to agents.
Hilton automatically pays individual commissions wherever possible, including international commissions in almost all countries. However, domestic commissions must be held in many countries until the agent sends the hotel an invoice. In several countries, domestic commissions can be paid by Hilton, without being held, subject to certain ‘self-billing’ conditions. Hilton has developed functionality to accommodate these various scenarios. For additional information regarding the requirements of specific countries, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Commissions Process
Hotel Commission Processing. Hilton is implementing centralised, networked property management systems at its hotels worldwide. For these hotels, more than 95% of the estate, Hilton centrally calculates commissions and sends records to TACS for the weekly payment run based on the hotels’ daily checkout records. Hilton’s other hotels are responsible for submitting commission calculations directly to TACS; these payments are not centrally automated.
‘Hold & Release’ Functionality. This is available for networked hotels in countries where Hilton must hold domestic commissions until the hotel receives a VAT invoice from the agent. TACS notifies agents each time they have a commission that is on hold. TACS holds these commissions until the hotels receive the agent’s invoice and manually releases payment through TACS.
‘Self-Billing’ Functionality. Some countries allow Hilton to create ‘Self-Billed Invoices’ or ‘Recipient Created Tax Invoices’, in order to automatically pay commissions plus VAT, by invoicing itself on behalf of the agency for the commissions due. Various forms of self-billing exist in certain countries, including the UK, Australia, New Zealand and the Nordic region. In some countries, such as the UK, this requires the agent to sign a Self-Billing Agreement (“SBA”) – for detailed information please see http://www.hiltonukcommissions.com. Agents in relevant countries should sign a SBA so their commissions are paid automatically without being put on hold. Agents who opt in to self-billing must not also deduct commissions at source.
TACS Payments and Reporting. All payments are accompanied by a paper or electronic statement that includes the property name, guest name, hotel PMS confirmation number, the arrival and departure date, the commissionable revenue, the gross commission amount and the commission paid (the latter is in the agent’s currency). Commissions are processed on a weekly cycle, and the payment cycle takes approximately 10 days from the weekly cut-off, so depending on timing, payments should generally be received 2-3 weeks after checkout.
TACS Service Offering
Consolidated, weekly payments for all participating Hilton Family hotels worldwide
Consolidation of multiple locations’ payments as selected by the agent
Payment in the agent’s preferred currency and preferred method, including ACH, wire and cheque
Real-time, online ability to check commission status and payment detail
Online ability to open inquiries and check status
Automatic return of inquiry closure responses to agents
Electronic statements of commissionable and non-commissionable bookings
Online reporting and ad hoc report capability
Live travel agent help desk, plus automated 24-hour help desk
No tiered membership structure and no contractual obligation
‘Self-Billing’ functionality and creation of VAT Invoices on behalf of the agents in relevant jurisdictions
Recommendations for Agents
Register With an Industry Association. Hilton only pays bona fide agencies who are registered with an accredited organisation such as IATA or TIDS. Other acceptable associations are ARC, TSI, CLIA, ERSP, SATO, TRUE and TS. The use of pseudo-IATA numbers is severely restricted for control and regulatory reasons. Agents must quote their membership number when booking.
Register Payment, Reporting and User Preferences with TACS. Agents should go to http://ce.tacsnet.com to register for electronic payments and statements, and select preferences, including payment method (wire, bank transfer, ACH or cheque), currency, frequency and consolidated payments for multiple branches. Agents must ‘register’ in order to have TACS verify their identity in order to provide access to their payment records online. Agents should also provide TACS with details of users who should have access to researching and opening inquiries for various IATA/TIDS numbers. There is no registration fee.
Register VAT / Tax ID’s with TACS where needed. Agents in relevant countries (e.g. Australia, New Zealand, Germany and the Nordic countries) should provide their VAT ID / Tax ID / ABN to TACS for all relevant IATA/TIDS numbers so that TACS can include the number on Hilton’s statements and self-billed invoices, without having to put any Hilton commissions on hold.
Sign a Self-Billing Agreement (“SBA”). In countries, such as the UK, where Self-Billing is allowed and agreements are required for automatic payments, agents should sign a SBA so their commissions will be paid immediately without being put on hold. Hilton will create tax invoices on behalf of these agents based on the checkout data and immediately process their commissions automatically, rather than put the commissions on hold. Agents who opt in to self-billing must not also deduct commissions at source. For detailed information regarding UK requirements and SBA’s please see http://www.hiltonukcommissions.com.
Do Not “Deduct Commissions at Source”. Hilton does not support this for individual guest stays due to potential duplication of payments through standard commission channels. Direct-billed companies should pay in full, and the hotel should pay the commission through CCP. Exceptions require explicit hotel agreement, subject to a strict internal approval process.
Reconcile Payments and Reporting Records with Booking Files. TACS provides agents with a detailed file of all transactions processed by Hilton and other participating chains, including non-commissionable records, no-shows and cancellations. Agents should reconcile this against their booking files. All Hilton commissions are subject to a 3% processing fee for all Hilton hotels and for all agents worldwide, and applies regardless of whether agents opt for Self-Billing or not.
Research Payments on TACSnet. After reconciling the TACS reports with their booking files, agents should research unreconciled transactions or missing payments on TACSnet (see separate TACSnet Quick Reference Guide).
Log Inquiries with TACS. Agents must log inquiries within 180 days of checkout and in batches of 25 or fewer. Inquiries can be loaded directly through http://ce.tacsnet.com, emailed to email@example.com, faxed to +1-703-480-6917 or raised by telephone at +1-703-480-6916. Inquiries outside this period must be addressed directly with the relevant hotels. TACS will research inquiries against Hilton’s checkout and payment records, and forward unresolved inquiries to hotels for investigation. Nonetheless, agents should log inquiries with TACS, not directly with the hotels, so that Hilton can track inquiries, investigate problem hotels and, for networked hotels, close and force payment for expired inquiries.
Identify Disputed Commissions Separately from Standard Inquiries. Agents may raise disputes where they have evidence that contradicts Hilton’s reported payment amount, number of rooms, room nights, commissionable status, no-shows or cancellations. Agents must advise TACS they are raising a dispute, not an inquiry, by email, fax or telephone with details of the records. Failure to do so may result in the disputed record simply being closed as previously reported.
Contact Hilton With Questions. Agents should direct any questions to their account manager or to firstname.lastname@example.org. NOTE: payment inquiries must be logged with TACS, not Hilton, as the first point of contact.