The industry is up in arms
a change in Delta Air Lines’ policy regarding incentive groups. The
carrier, which folded its Meeting Network in January, now requires
ticketing including names of participants 30 days after planners
block space for programs.
But given the nature of incentive travel, for which seats are
booked several months before the actual incentive qualifiers are
known (typically 30 to 60 days prior to the trip), this creates a
serious quagmire for planners.
In protest, the Chicago-based Society of Incentive & Travel
Executives and several incentive firms, including Traverse City,
Mich.-based Viktor Incentives & Meetings, sent letters to Delta
executives, such as CEO Gerald Grinstein and vice president of
sales and distribution Pam Elledge, asking them to rethink their
In a letter sent April 7 to Grinstein, SITE president William
Boyd wrote: “Delta’s new group policy&makes it impossible for
incentive planners to use Delta.”
Boyd, who also serves as president of Dallas-based incentive
firm Sunbelt Motivation, said his company has stopped selling Delta
as a result of the policy change.
Mark Bondy, partner/president at Viktor, said, “If other
airlines follow, it would critically impact our industry.”
“We think it’s critical that they consider the impact of the
decision,” said SITE CEO Brenda Anderson, above. “They are turning
their backs on a huge volume of business by not understanding how
Incentives represent an estimated 3 to 5 percent of airlines’
overall business, according to SITE.
At press time, no other carriers had followed the airline’s
lead. Delta did not return calls for comment.