The ‘Dangers’? of ‘shopping around’ …
You are putting together a group service project, mission, or humanitarian effort. More than likely you are serving in a church, mission, or other 501c3 Non-Profit organization, and your desire (rightly so!) is to MAXIMIZE your travel dollar.
You contact 3 different agencies — and ask each of them the same question: “Can you help us get to the field for the lowest price?” Can you beat the competition?
Good question. However — sometimes we approach group travel like we approach ‘purchasing in bulk’ at Sams Club. If we buy 10 lbs of hamburger, the supplier is expected to drop the ‘per pound’ price to incentivize (is that a word) our purchase. The difference is this — the airlines only have a small percentage of each aircraft that we can negotiate group fares for (usually about 20% of the aircraft).
Here is a quick scenario of how it might play out with travel agencies and the airlines:
The internet fare is running about $630 per person.
Travel Agent 1 — Negotiates space on Delta for 500.00 dollars — and marks it up to 600.00 per person for a 100.00 ‘commission.’
Travel Agent 2 — Negotiates for more space on Delta for 580.00 dollars per person — and marks it up $30 dollars per person for a total of $610.00 . This is fair — and the agent feels like they are being paid for their time — but more importantly — they are helping you get to the field!
Travel Agent 3 — is thrilled with your ministry — and even is willing to give you the tickets at her cost! They hear from Delta, and use their missionary contracts to negotiate the lowest (available) space — but because the lowest fares are already taken, the best quote that they can offer you is $630.00 per person — with no commission..
More than likely —- you will go with ‘door number 1’ — and confirm the 600 fare, thinking that they have given you the ‘best price’ — –when in reality — they just received your quote request a few hours before the 2nd or 3rd Agent did — and grabbed the lowest cost space.
My point? — Find one — or at most two agencies that you TRUST, and that share your passion for that which you have been called to do. They will work their tail off to serve you well — and to keep the commissions lower than if you went to a ‘ticket mill’ — or agency that had no idea what you are doing or where you are going (in terms of purpose, etc) . Ask them what kind of contracts they have access to, and what their ‘niche’ is in the market.
By demonstrating your desire to work solely with one agent or agency that has the connections you need — you will motivate that agent to serve you well —and to be competitive with their pricing.
For MKI — this is at the CORE of who we are. We rely on volume and consistancy of business to cover our bills, rather than on a high percentage mark up on our group and individual fares.
If you HAVE found an agency you can trust — stick with them!!!! 🙂
However — if you are looking for an agency you can trust, give us a call!!!!
We can hold space for both individuals and groups up to 10 months in advance — and often we can even get the deposit waived for you while you raise the funds to cover the cost!
Hope to hear from you soon!!!