ABOVE AND BEYOND®, INC             A practical question you should ask 
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Third Party Providers
Why Should You Use A Third Party Provider Like Above and Beyond, Inc.: 
(Industry article excerpt from Practical Guide to Events Planning)
The tighter staffs associated with the age of corporate downsizing has given rise to an idea whose time has come, third-party providers. We work hard to ensure the success of your meeting or event. Your needs are our first priority. 

Here's how it works: 

Planners engage third-party providers for destination research and contract negotiation regarding potential sites for their event. The company's fees are paid by the hotel in the form of a commission for booking the rooms. Third-party providers say they can save you enough to absorb their commission, and then some. The key to making this system work lies in engaging the services of a true industry insider, one who knows the ropes. Most players agree that kind of savvy can often translate into lower rates for you, even after covering the third-party provider's commission. 

Here's what to look for: 

To avoid those firms who may just be out for a fast buck, look for a provider that comes from a hotel sales background. This is the person capable of bringing an insider's expertise to the negotiation table. And work with the company president, who has more of an interest in the long term success of the relationship, not a junior account executive. It’s all about experience.

The core controversy: 

In whose interest is the third-party provider really working? Yours, the hotel's, or their own? And, how objective are third-party terms? Why wouldn't these agencies steer your business toward their hotel partners or to destinations that offer them more incentives? Again, the answer lies in careful selection of the firm you choose to work with. Choose a group that is client-driven, interested in building a long-term relationship with you. One marker of that? Look for a group that has chosen not to forge any formal partnerships within the industry. 

The bottom line: 

Check references, both from clients and suppliers. Look for someone with solid experience in the industry. The well-chosen third-party exec has enough clout and experience to deliver a package with rates from 10 percent to 30  percent lower than their clients originally expected to pay. In addition, they can negotiate better deals on food and beverage that you can get on your own.  

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