Worth Every Penny
Some people are grumbling about the increased fees travel agencies imposed after the airlines cut their commissions to zip, but not Carol Krug, CMP, president/CEO of the Krugman Group International Inc., St. Petersburg, Fla. Miami-based Fredson Travel now charges $40 a transaction, but Krug says it's a bargain considering all that they do for her and her clients — particularly for a group of 160 doctors who were flying in from all over Latin America for a meeting whose location changed from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to Iguazu Falls, Argentina, just three weeks before the program this spring.
“Iguazu Falls is on the border of Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay. It's a magnificent spot, but most people do not even know where Iguazu is, much less that there are two airports (one on the Brazilian side of the Falls and one on the Argentinian side). Or that if you want to arrive on the Argentine side, where the hotel is, you have to connect through Buenos Aires, which means arriving in the international airport and then driving across town to the domestic airport. Or that if you come in on the Brazilian side and are American or Mexican, you need a visa, and so on and so on.”
“I cannot begin to imagine how long it would take for a nonprofessional to tackle this using the Internet or calling the six airlines that people were flying to reach the location,” says Krug.
Then the flight from Iguazu to São Paulo was delayed, which would have caused 12 Colombian and Venezuelan doctors returning home to miss their connection. Her agent tracked down the flight supervisor in the São Paulo airport and convinced her that it would be better to hold the flight until Krugman's 12 doctors could get there rather than to lose 12 business-class airfares. “He was so persuasive that the doctors not only made their flight on time but also were escorted by airline personnel from one flight to another.
“Thanks to Fred's knowledge and expertise — not to mention incredible connections — the last impression left on the attendees was one of concern, care, and professionalism. I cannot imagine doing business without them.”