Topic Author
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Joined: Tue Nov 21, 2006 11:51 am

500px Convention. What Will Airline Do To Get It?

Mon Feb 19, 2007 8:07 am

I've been organizing this bi-yearly 500 participant convention. We've been to CZM, then to PVR and now we'll be going to MID. Participants depart from almost every airport in Mexico and have to connect to their final destination.

The last two occasions AM & MX offered a discount code that was better than published fares but higher than some special offers they also had. This brought up some complaints to me saying that I was not able to get them the real lowest fare available.

From your experience I would like to know how much discount or free tickets or services or... I can get from an airline if I name them The Official Carrier when I buy some 1,000 round trip tickets every year.

Thanks in advance for your answers.
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RE: 500px Convention. What Will Airline Do To Get It?

Mon Feb 19, 2007 8:39 am

OK, I spent some years as the Conference Officer for Greater Manchester UK, ran my own conference company for 10 years dealing primarily with aviation and have been a consultant to a number of major medical and academic conferences.

The approach airlines take will vary depending on how big you are in terms of seat bookings compared to their traffic on the route, how often you will run your event in a city served by their network, how much they want to promote your destinations for future business and how much influence you, as organiser, have over the way people travel to your event.

They then look at any IATA rules governing ticket prices and will make you an offer. If you are big enough they may also agree to sponsor items such as coffee breaks or a dinner at the conference and, if you are influential enough and your delegates seem capable of generating business class and first class travel, they may even throw in a price package where some of the organiser travel is either free or upgraded.

Making an airline "Official Carrier" has plenty of benefits for both organiser and airline but be hard in your negotiations because it is easy for airlines to offer a little and gain a lot out of such a status, especially if you are a high profile organisation or event.

If you can negotiate a beneficial Official Carrier agreement make sure you get free carriage of anything you may want to send air freight in regard to the event. Other ideas are to have spouse packages on a reduced fare basis for the spouse where the delegate pays the standard fare - this was always popular with academic delegates, have the spouse ground package sponsored by the airline or have an arrangement where the trip can be at a date up to 14 days before or 14 days from the end of the conference if the venue is attractive and delegates may want to add a break.

Airlines may also be happy to provide the delegate wallets and other useful ancillaries.

In return make sure that you offer a guarantee that all the printed material, letter headings, compliment slips and adverts will carry the airline's logo and that your primary delegate package will offer a price based on ticketing with the airline.

On a humorous note, I devised and operated the Global Impact of AIDS Conference in London in 1988 which attracted over 1500 high profile medical and economic expert delegates from over 120 countries and was sponsored by the WHO and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. I approached British Airways to be official Carrier. They accepted, but on one condition, they would not be known as Official Carrier but Official Airline.

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