The latest dot-com pairing will have Westport, Conn.-based b-there.com (www.b-there.com) offering its meeting planner users the opportunity to add a direct link to the air-booking capabilities of Menlo Park, Calif.-based GetThere (www.getthere.com) at the event registration Web sites those users create through b-there.com.
GetThere, whose long-term goal is to offer travel reservations via direct connections with hotels and airlines, now offers most of those reservations through its connections with the majordistribution systems (GDSs) such as Apollo, Worldspan, and Sabre (which at press time was still in the process of finalizing its purchase of GetThere).
According to Jim Forberg, vice president of strategicfor b-there.com, the two companies have been working on the agree- ment for about six months, mostly negotiating a pricing plan for the service. "This completes our services with a travel function," he says.
A meeting planner user will pay a one-time setup fee of about $9,000 to incorporate the GetThere portal on the event registration Web site he or she would have created with b-there.com.
B-there.com will then charge a negotiated transaction fee for each air booking and pay a portion of it to GetThere.
Who pays that fee? "It depends on how the meeting planner wants to structure it," according to Forberg. Passing the fee on to the attendee is one option; including the transaction costs in the event budget is another. For more on these two companies and other players in the online meeting planning field, see "The Offline Guide to Online Tools" on page 55.