How One Company Saved $100,000 in Group Airfare

Caitlin Busscher

Caitlin Busscher

Posted on June 6, 2018

When GFL Soccer Enterprises needed to get teams to Europe, they wanted to save money and make the booking process easy for their athletes. They had three hundred travelers and five international trips to make per year, and knew they couldn’t afford any chances.

Over the past five years, we’ve heard horror stories about meeting planners or travel planners overpaying for group airfare by tens of thousands of dollars. Or worse, an inefficient booking process that results in lost time and unhappy clients. Meeting planners and trip managers already have a lot to worry about; so when it comes to flights, they deserve a responsive, reliable, transparent travel partner.

The Air Travel Group helps hundreds of companies book thousands of flight per year. This allows us access to special fares with major airlines. For GFL Soccer, this meant over $100,000 in savings.

Here’s how:

– GFL Soccer has 5 events per year and a total of 300 travelers

-$1,350 was the average cost of airfare in midsummer to Rome, Amsterdam, and Munich from their core markets

-The Air Travel Group secured an average cost of $995 for GFL flights

-GFL saved $106,500 off the total cost of airfare

While saving money is important, creating an enjoyable and seamless customer experience is even more important. Each player could manage their trip through a personalized portal, and contacted their dedicated agent if they had any questions. When you partner with The Air Travel Group, there is no tradeoff between price and service.

GFL Soccer received the customer service they needed, saved money for future trips, and went on to have a successful season. It was an honor to be a part of their story.

The Air Travel Group specializes in managed group airfare all over the world. Our clients include sports teams, meeting planners, student groups, and business travelers. If you have a business conference, incentive trip, school trip, or require a private chartered flight—we can get you to where you need to go! Contact us here.

Delta Discontinues Domestic Group Airfare Contracts: What it Means for Tour Operators, Travel Agencies, and Student Tour Groups

Caitlin Busscher

Caitlin Busscher

Posted on June 4, 2018

This morning, Delta announced it would discontinue group airfare contracts for domestic flights. Preceding this announcement, travel agencies and tour operators could reserve seats up to 11 months in advance for large groups traveling together.

According to Delta’s website (which has yet to be updated):

Delta Group Specialists customize Delta flight itineraries for groups of 10 or more passengers traveling on the same flight. You get the advantage of competitive fares, flexible ticketing options and dedicated support in booking your group’s travel.

With the new terms in place, Delta is eliminating its current group airfare contracts. Limited details are immediately available, but we know:

-Delta is only offering domestic group purchases in blocks of 9 or less on their website, which requires names and immediate payment (no more group terms and conditions). 

-Only travel agencies with a dedicated sales rep are being advised to “reach out to him or her for more assistance”.

With this announcement, groups will now have to book published fares, which will have far-reaching consequences for the group travel industry and especially the student tourism industry.

What does this mean for tour operators?

The inability to book group airfare will impact tour operators’ ability to include airfare in tour packages for organized trips.

If a high school dance troupe hopes to travel to a national competition, they may request a quote 6-8 months prior to travel—well before they know whether their team qualifies for competition.

Travel agents could reserve space with a deposit until the final number of travelers was confirmed.  Ninety days prior to travel, agencies could reduce the number of seats being held without penalty or even cancel the entire contract for a deposit refund.  Final payment wasn’t due until 30 days prior to travel – giving group travelers time to raise funds and plan for their big trip.

Now, payment and traveler details will be required at the time of booking. This will place travel agents in a more precarious financial situation should the travel group atrophy before their travel dates. Not unlikely, considering almost 40% of group seats go unused. Unless tour operators pass this financial risk onto the clients, they may discontinue offering airfare services at all.

What does this mean for student tour groups?

Student tour groups enjoyed the benefits of group airfare contracts, primarily because it ensured they could travel together and that each student would pay the same price per ticket.

With the disappearance of group contracts, group leaders may have to organize their own group airfare and book published rates, while shouldering the financial risk on their own.

Most online booking portals only allow individuals to purchase 6-9 seats at a time, which means teams may not travel together.

Knowing the final cost of a trip also becomes increasingly difficult. Because of dynamic pricing, the same seat on a flight can cost different prices based on up to 11 different class fares. An online booking engine only displays the cheapest seat available.

With published rates, students 1-20 may get tickets for $400, but by the time you book students 40-50 the class fare may jump up to $800. At best, some students may be expected to pay hundreds of dollars more than their colleagues. At worst, they can no longer afford the trip and the goalie and half-back have to stay behind.

The other alternative? A free-for-all where all students and parents book travel on their own—and student tour organizers hope everyone arrives to the destination on time.

How does this benefit the airlines?

The short answer: it probably saves them money.

With rising fuel costs and taxes, domestic airlines already operate within a small profit margin. When travel agencies hold inventory, there are fewer seats available for purchase by the general public. Plus, airlines need to staff call centers to support the thousands of small groups they process on a daily basis.

It may be a gamble, but the loss of profits from small groups (who may go on to purchase more expensive published fares anyway) may outweigh the cost of labor to run a group desk.

What does this mean for the future?

In a notoriously copycat industry, it is possible that other airlines may follow suit. Airlines have worked for years to protect their small profit margins and insulate their fares.

As professionals in a volatile industry, we will have to continue to do what we have done for years. React to changes, adapt, and brace ourselves for a bumpy landing.

 

Cait Busscher is a Brand Ambassador for The Air Travel Group, a Business Inc. top 500 company that specializes in group airfare for businesses, sports teams, and student groups. When she isn’t traipsing the world with her husband, she is eating ice cream, practicing yoga, advocating for the oxford comma, and writing a blog only her mom reads (maybe).

The End of “Deal Hunting” for Airfare is Around the Corner. Thanks Dynamic Pricing.

Kenny Totten

Kenny Totten

Posted on February 28, 2018

For many, the act of searching for the lowest possible published airline ticket fare has become somewhat of a mildly enjoyable exercise. Working in the travel industry, we are constantly interacting with customers that are comparing fares and routes, intent on making sure every dollar is well spent.

6 Reasons Why Companies Trust the ATG with Their Group Air Needs

Caitlin Busscher

Caitlin Busscher

Posted on December 15, 2017

As the year comes to a close, it is a time for reflection. 2017 has been extremely good to us here at The Air Travel Group. In September, we learned that INC Magazine crowned us as America’s fastest growing travel company. We’ve finished our first full year at our new location and have gained major traction in new business verticals.

With all that being said, we can’t overlook (and say thank you) to the scores of tour operators who trust us to handle their group air needs.

Here are the 6 chief reasons more tour operators trust their group air needs to The Air Travel Group than anyone else in the country.

PRICING
We hold top account status at many of the top airlines. Because of our volumes, we receive better pricing than our competitors. Period.

DEDICATED ACCOUNT TEAM
Our team is an extension of yours. Each travel partner is assigned their own dedicated agent or team. We learn the ins and outs of your business while developing a professional relationship.

OUR AGENTS ARE GOOD!
Our team is all based in-house and many are former airline employees, meaning they know the ins and outs of the industry. Just like top tier law firms only hire from Harvard or Yale, we only have the best join our team.

BETTER CONTRACT TERMS
We are blessed to have special contracts with many airlines, giving us waived deposits and better terms & conditions on our contracts.

PRIVATE FARES
Should your group be traveling internationally, you can partner with no better travel agency than The Air Travel Group. We have unreal group prices to Europe and often save between 10-40% off published fares. And if you don’t believe us, we will send you a free quote!

SUPERIOR TECHNOLOGY
Our partners love using ATGConnect, our group travel management system. Our proprietary software was built from scratch to suit your exact needs. Manage all aspects of your group air needs online (view, approve, pay, submit names, request new quote, and so much more). In the Spring of 2018, we will be launching our second version, which will further improve our platform!

While the world goes into holiday mode this December, we are hard at work planning to make 2018 our best year yet. We are extremely grateful for all of our existing partners and look forward to forging new relationships in 2018.

Should you have travel related questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

 

The Last Carry On You’ll Ever Own

Kenny Totten

Kenny Totten

Posted on December 4, 2017

Every globetrotter and frequent traveler understands the value of quality luggage. Poorly made and performing luggage can make the already burdensome walk from Gate D2 to A1 in Atlanta seem downright treacherous.

About a year ago, I took a chance on a new luggage company called AWAY.  Their content caught my eye on social media and I dipped into their website to see what AWAY was all about.

3 days later, I purchased the “Bigger Carry-On,” (they don’t get points for a creative name). I was immediately impressed with the sleek design and hard outside shell. The bag was incredibly light but also structurally sound.

AWAY makes packing and organizing a breeze, the two compartments help keep all packed items quickly accessible. Rolling a full suitcase around is effortless, as you should expect to enjoy a very smooth roll whether on 2 wheels or 4.

By far my favorite feature, and the one that has saved the day multiple times, is the built-in electronics charger.

That’s right, this bag can charge up to two cell phones at the same time! All of my friends get a kick out of it. That feature has saved the day on multiple occasions.

I was a little bummed to learn that many airlines are banning “smart-bags” because of associated dangers lithium batteries carry. However, the built in battery is quickly removable should TSA give you any trouble.

At $245 for the larger carry-on makes an AWAY suitecase an easy investment for a frequent traveler.

Note: We receive no commission and have zero affiliation with AWAY. We just really like their bags!