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 Why Use A Travel Agent

Individual Travel


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.




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.


·         Many consolidator 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 options.  Using 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.


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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 Advantages

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.



Organizations and Corporate Travel Management



All the reasons listed above, plus managing your travel costs overall, which includes:


·         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.


·         Enforcing corporate 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.


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Funds Protection

Beyond The Bay is a California licensed Seller of Travel and participates in the "Travel Consumer Restitution Fund". As a resident of California, your payments for travel, cruises and tours are covered by this fund. In the event the "provider" declares bankruptcy or goes out of business, we provide a notice that states the losses covered, the method for making a claim and the time limit within which to file the claim.



If you are not using a travel agent, you are on your own! Or beat the odds, contact Beyond the Bay Travel today!

©2001-2003 Beyond the Bay Travel | Pacifica, CA | 1.800.542.1991