So you think getting a cheap airfare
is as simple as calling your favorite airline or logging on to your
favorite web site and forking over your credit card number? Unless
you are traveling on someone else’s dime, you couldn’t be more
misguided. Or perhaps you are a wishful traveler who scours the
newspaper’s travel section looking for the lowest fares advertised,
only to find none of them are ever available on the weekends you
want to go.
Getting the lowest airfare from
Point A to Point B can be an incredibly frustrating experience. The
way airlines work failing to get the best fare happens more often
than you would like to believe. Beyond The Bay Travel will
help guide you through the airfare nightmare to make sure you are
the one with the cheapest airfare at time of booking. Then, we
continue to monitor tickets issued by BTB, and if a fare is lowered
before departure, try to rebook your reservation to receive possible
credit. Even if they go down, you can’t rebook Internet fares.
UNDERSTAND HOW AIRLINES SET THEIR
PRICES IN THE FIRST PLACE
Airline pricing is a complex,
unpredictable beast driven by three ugly words; competition, demand,
and inventory. Airlines call it “yield management”, but we doubt if
even airline CEOs fully understand it. How could they? How can any
rational person explain why a one-way flight is just as expensive as
a round-trip ticket? Or why the only one-way nonstop seats from
Boston to San Francisco from now until eternity cost $1000.00? Well
you found us in the nick of time, because before you even attempt to
buy an airline ticket, you must know the forces at work. Only when
you know the enemy may you fiercely slay him.
So why is it so hard to keep track
of the prices? A multitude of reasons:
Internet travel sites
and travel agents use the central reservations systems, which are
updated periodically during the day. The four reservation systems
are not updated at the same time, which explains why different
searches may yield different results. In addition, because of other
factors, fare differences can exist for the same route on different
airlines. For example, if one airline has the market share for the
route, and especially controls the nonstop market, it may not need
to lower fares to attract passengers. BTB Travel has special
negotiated discounts that don’t appear on the Internet.
fares, both domestic and international, are often the cheapest
option. These wholesale fares have been around for over 15 years
and many are not available on the Internet. BTB knows the
wholesale consolidator market inside and out. We have an
established relationship with trusted vendors.
Tour fares are another
option. These are offered on the Internet, but unless you are an
expert you wouldn’t know where and when to apply this possible lower
option. BTB Travel does and in fact uses package travel on many
occasions to save you money.
Because of all these factors, it is essential to look
around and comparison shop. BTB Travel navigates through all these
FareChase software through Sabre and Worldspan we
can now do in minutes what used to take hours by searching over 50
Websites at once. We then compare our discount fare, to
consolidator, to tour fares, and regular CRS (computer reservation
system) fares. Agency CRS providers are now establishing contracts
with airlines to offer Internet fares through agency computer
reservation systems. This has been a recent switch from the
airlines trying to change their ticket distribution system to the
Internet. The airlines are learning that travel agencies provide a
valuable service that the Internet, and the airlines, cannot provide
at a lower cost.
In January, the television news
magazine, 20/20, reported the results of a test in which travel
agents beat consumers at uncovering the best airfares. However, it
is much more than the “lowest fare” that provides the compelling
argument for a good travel agent.
BTB Solves Problems
BTB serves as a consumer advocate in
the event that something inadvertently goes wrong. In the case of
cancelled flights, weather delays and changes during travel, we can
assist with our services. Providing an emergency 24/7 service, we
are here to help. When a recent east coast weather delay caused
complete disruption for many travelers, we could be reached to
help. Many Internet passengers had no one to contact, the airline
phone lines were busy and airport lines were endless. We were able
to confirm needed hotel rooms for forced stay over and reschedule
flights. Hotel rooms were booked up by travel agents by the time
many on their own passengers could get help, thus leaving them
stranded in airports until service was resumed.
BTB Provides Many Other
BTB has special negotiated hotel
rates all over the world, many cheaper than Hotels.Com.
We also assist in car reservations with our own agency negotiated
discounts, and can compare association and frequent flyer discounts
that might apply. We also belong to a travel agent consortium in
order to offer discount group block rates on Cruises and Tours that
you cannot get on the Internet. Our agents have in-depth knowledge
about your destinations and can provide the personal touch. Just
contact one of our travel professionals when planning your next
leisure vacation and compare.
and Corporate Travel Management
WHY USE A TRAVEL AGENT FOR YOUR CORPORATE OR ORGANIZATION’S
All the reasons listed above,
plus managing your travel costs overall,
BTB can provide
meeting planning with hotel discount contracts, allowing free
meeting rooms and some free nights with room block. We can set up
all aspects for meetings, including coordinating room shares to save
your participant or company money.
We can set up airline
discount contracts to earn free tickets and up to 10 percent off on
domestic airline tickets. International meeting contracts are
totally negotiable for discounts.
travel policy is a very important feature in managing travel costs.
When a company, or organization, allows their employees’ to book on
their own, they usually get the most convenient flight and their
preferred frequent flyer so they can earn miles and possibly
upgrade. They are not thinking about controlling the cost of the
flight. The employee must also use valuable work time in trying to
make travel reservations. Having a travel agent manage the possible
fare differences to satisfy budget constraints usually saves more
than 20 percent in an overall travel budget, even taking into
consideration an agency’s airline ticket issue fee.
Etopaz.com compared over 12,000
agency-booked itineraries with various Internet travel sites
including Orbitz, Expedia, Travelocity and carrier-specific sites
during the 4th quarter of 2002. Topaz found that
itineraries booked through a designated corporate travel agency
averaged $135 less than the same itineraries booked on the Internet
travel sites, saving corporations 23% in airfare expenses. This was
the largest spread between corporate airfares compared to Internet
airfares by Topaz for 2002. However it was recorded that a higher
percentage of Internet fares were cheaper for the 4th
quarter, 10.62 percent compared to the 2nd quarter low in
2002 of 6.24 percent. This is why BTB has turned to web-search
technologies to ensure all resources are used to find the lowest
fares. Thus the traveler gets the best of all worlds and chooses by
the organization’s travel policy and restrictions.
A company, or organization, can also
belong to corporate airline mileage plans, earning free tickets,
upgrades etc. So not only do the passengers earn awards, so does the
organization, depending on volume and tracking that only can be done
by a Travel Agency.
BTB can also negotiate even lower
prices for an organization by volume and frequency using hotels and
rental cars also awarding free car days and big hotel discounts.
If your company, or organization, is
not using a travel agent, or does not have their own in-house
travel, agency surveys prove you are paying high travel costs. Most
services through a travel agent are still free, except for airline
tickets, but the overall savings and protected service far outweighs
this fee 10 to 1.