You’ve spent months planning the perfect event, and after all your hard work, the moment has finally arrived: It’s time to welcome your attendees! Whether they’re traveling from another city, state, or country, group air travel agents ensure they arrive in the right place at the right time.
Air travel management is in its own class when it comes to event planning. From the logistics of finding flights and securing savings to providing customer service and managing flight changes, group travel agents go the extra mile to provide efficient, stress-free service. (Stress-free for the client and attendees, at least!)
In the second in a series of blog posts detailing the facts and fictions of event planning, M&IW’s Sr. Manager of Group Travel, Samantha Gehrke, debunks the myths and shares the realities of group air travel.
In Case You Missed It – Myth vs. Reality: Event Design
Myth: Attendees who book on their own will get a better deal.
Reality: Planning companies like M&IW provide better savings and service.
Booking through your corporate online booking tool may be tempting, but the savings (and service!) you receive through professionals, like our Group Travel team at M&IW, will be superior. We load all corporate discount rates into our booking channel, and we can also offer meeting discounts specific to your program and zone fares not offered through traditional channels. Our proactive process allows us to stay in control of when attendees book their airfare to ensure they get the best rate, and we can seamlessly manage ground transportation when we book the air, allowing for further savings instead of the headache of back-and-forth updates.
M&IW provides additional value in situations of irregular flight operations by proactively reviewing attendees’ flight re-accommodations and readjusting as needed to not only provide excellent customer service to the attendee but also a cost savings to the event by working with the team on immediate hotel, meal, and ground changes.
Myth: You should buy airline tickets as early as possible.
Reality: Depending on your destination, book two–five months out for the best deals.
Airlines don’t begin actively managing inventory until approximately three months prior to departure for domestic travel and five months prior for international travel. Because of this, the most economical time to purchase airline tickets has historically been two–three months in advance for domestic and three–five months in advance for international. In the post-pandemic world, you also have to contend with rampant schedule changes. Departure and arrival times can change at any time, layovers can be added, and some airlines don’t offer a refund until the schedule change is greater than four hours! While it’s not a guarantee that there won’t be any changes, waiting to book until two–five months out may result in fewer surprises.
Myth: Block space will be the best airfare deal for your event.
Reality: Block space is only beneficial for certain destinations.
Block space is a unique product offered by the airlines that allows you to contract a specific number of seats from the same origin to the same destination on a specific flight or group of flights. While this can make planning and booking flights easier, especially when not using a planning company like M&IW, block space is often higher in cost than published fares with a private discount code. It can also have limited service capabilities—no upgrades, limited changes, and limited seating options are typical restrictions. The best use of block space is for destinations with limited lift where there aren’t many (or any) alternatives if a flight sells out.
Sr. Manager, Group Travel
Meetings & Incentives Worldwide, Inc.