Why Travel Agents Should Utilize GDS

Global Distribution Systems, or GDS, are the bread and butter of airline consolidators, but many travel agents are not utilizing these amazing tools to their full potential. By working with an airline consolidator, travel agents can save time, money, and have a competitive advantage. This article is part of a monthly series on airline consolidators and how travel agents can put their services to work for them.
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Running the Extra Mile

How Sky Bird Provides the Best Customer Service

Travel Agent: I booked my customer’s flight through you and they are experiencing a problem with a cancelled flight.

Other Airfare Consolidators: We can’t help you with that. You’ll have to  call the airline.

Um, no. At Sky Bird, we do things differently. We are committed to going the extra mile for our customers. A happy traveler is a repeat customer for you. We are more than happy to go out of our way to support you and your clients from the moment you book the flight until they return home.

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How To Answer “Are Travel Agents Still Relevant?”

You’ve probably read the articles. They shout “Travel Agents Are Relevant Again!” and it makes you feel good thinking that customers who once sought the ease of OTAs will come knocking on your door.

Are travel agents relevant though? Continue reading “How To Answer “Are Travel Agents Still Relevant?””

Sky Bird Travel & Tours Celebrates 40th Anniversary

Airline Industry Guests Fêted at The Henry Ford

There was no more appropriate place to celebrate a travel company’s anniversary than the Henry Ford Museum. Retired planes suspended from the ceiling served as the perfect backdrop for the 40th Anniversary celebration of Sky Bird Travel & Tours, a leading airfare consolidator.
On the evening of Thursday October 20th, dozens of guests from airlines and elsewhere in the travel industry gathered at the Henry Ford. The color of the evening was red – symbolizing the new Sky Bird logo, unveiled earlier this year, as well as the Ruby Anniversary of the company.
For forty years, Sky Bird has been a trusted airfare consolidator. The company was founded in metro Detroit in 1976 by husband and wife team, Arvin and Jaya Shah. From these humble beginnings, Sky Bird grew to the award-winning company it is today, with offices across the country and two international branches in Toronto, Mumbai, and Manila.
Sky Bird Travel & Tours would like to extend our sincerest thanks to all who helped make our 40th anniversary a success!

Sky Bird Travel & Tours - 40th Anniversary Celebration (1) - Copy
Ice sculpture to commemorate Sky Bird’s 40th Anniversary

 

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Mr. Shah addresses the guests of the 40th Anniversary Gala

 

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40th Anniversary Gala at the Henry Ford Museum

 

Left to Right: Akshay Shah, Vice President of Marketing; Shweta Shah, Marketing Director; Jaya Shah, Executive and Co-Founder; Arvin Shah, Executive and Co-Founder.
Left to Right: Akshay Shah, Vice President of Marketing; Shweta Shah, Marketing Director; Jaya Shah, Executive and Co-Founder; Arvin Shah, Executive and Co-Founder.

 

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Left to Right: Raj Patel, Executive; Manisha Patel; Jaya Shah, Executive and Co-Founder; Arvin Shah, Executive and Co-Founder.

 

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Elegant place settings at the 40th Anniversary Gala

 

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Traditional Indian flute player

 

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KGB, a Motown Tribute Band

 

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Musicians play traditional Indian music at the 40th Anniversary Gala

 

Around the World: Arderne Gardens

Cape Town, South Africa

This garden has been well-loved by South Africans for nearly 200 years. It began as a private residence in the 1840s. Ralph Henry Arderne was a timber merchant living in the area and his unique position allowed him to acquire dozens of exotic seeds. On his land he built a house known as “The Hill.”

Garden of Champions

Gardens on the estate became a favorite spot for local residents to stroll and enjoy nature. When Arderne died in 1917, the property was divided and The Hill was demolished. Eventually the city government purchased the land and continued to make this place a relaxing spot to enjoy nature.

Today, the park is known for its trees, of which there are over 300; a koi pond, and the sprawling green lawns. Six of the trees have been designated as Champion Trees, meaning they are the largest tree of a species based on trunk circumference, height, and average crown spread. The Moreton Bay Fig is one of the largest trees in the country. The Arderne Gardens are popular for weddings, leisure seekers, and botany enthusiasts.

Moreton Bay Fig - a Champion Tree of Arderne Gardens. Photo Credit: By Marie Frei - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=42543661
Moreton Bay Fig – a Champion Tree of Arderne Gardens. Photo Credit: By Marie Frei – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=42543661

How to Get There

By car from Cape Town, it’s only 12.4 km south. To fly to Cape Town, we’re partnered with over 90 airlines, so no matter their city of departure, we can get your clients there. As a top airfare consolidator, Sky Bird Travel has the lowest net fares to South Africa. Call or email us today to get started!

 

Are your clients looking for something off the beaten path? Are they not interested in tourist traps? Stay tuned for our Around the World series. Several times a week, we share interesting things to do in exotic places. Give your clients a new experience in old places!

 

 

Around the World: Dar al-Makhzen

Rabat, Morocco

For over a thousand years, sultans and kings have maintained a palace in Rabat, the nation’s capital. The current palace was built in 1864. The sultan chose the French architects Louis-Paul Pertuzio and Félix-Joseph Pertuzio to design the palace.

A City Within a City

In addition to housing the royal family, there are other buildings situation on the complex as well including: a small mosque, a mechouar for public ceremonies, living space for the royal family and Moroccan Royal Guard, a college, a cooking school, and a library.

Tour the palace for an up-close look at Moroccan history. It’s a great way to immerse yourself in the Morocco of centuries past and the Morocco that’s adapting to the 21st century. Don’t miss the Arabic motifs and local horticulture when exploring the extensive gardens.

Front of Royal Palace. Photo Credit: By Bernard Gagnon - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5392259
Front of Royal Palace. Photo Credit: By Bernard Gagnon – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5392259

How to Get There

Dar al-Makhzen is located in the city proper of Rabat.  To fly to Morocco, we’re partnered with over 90 airlines, so no matter their city of departure, we can get your clients there. As a top airfare consolidator, Sky Bird Travel has the lowest net fares to Morocco. Call or email us today to get started!

 

Are your clients looking for something off the beaten path? Are they not interested in tourist traps? Stay tuned for our Around the World series. Several times a week, we share interesting things to do in exotic places. Give your clients a new experience in old places!

 

 

 

Around the World: Nyatapola Temple

Kathmandu, Nepal 

This impressive structure was constructed quickly – only a five-month period from 1701-1702. It is dedicated to the goddess of prosperity, Siddha Laxmi, and located in Bhaktapur – about 40 minutes outside of Kathmandu.  The name means “City of Devotees” and is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site which includes buildings of cultural and natural value.

The Nyatapola Temple is considered one of the tallest pagodas in the country – standing at over 30 meters high. The temple is so structurally sound that it managed to survive a 8.3 magnitude earthquake in 1934.

Front of Nyatapola Temple. By Varuna 20001 - Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8875114
Front of Nyatapola Temple. Photo Credit: By Varuna 20001 – Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8875114

Religious Figures

While the temple is primarily dedicated to Siddha Laxmi, there are other religious figures in the temple architecture as well, mostly those that pertain to the legend surrounding it.

The legend goes that an angry god, Bhairab, was causing destruction. To counteract this, Parvati the goddess took the form of Siddha Laxmi and carried Bhairab away. The king ordered a temple with guardians be built on the site. Guardians included two elephants, two lions, two griffons, and a tiger and lion goddesses. According to tradition, Laxmi’s image is kept hidden within the temple and only priests are allowed to see it.

Idol Sardul in front fo Nyatapola Temple. Photo Credit: By Krish Dulal - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=28681449
Idol Sardul in front fo Nyatapola Temple. Photo Credit: By Krish Dulal – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=28681449

Visiting

Climbing the steps of the temple affords visitors an up-close look at traditional Nepalese architecture and sculpture. It’s not as well-known as other temples located within the city of Kathmandu, which makes it the perfect place to see the religious history of Nepal without all the tourists.

How to Get There:

Nyatapola Temple is only about 40 minutes east of Kathmandu.  To fly to Nepal, we’re partnered with over 90 airlines, so no matter their city of departure, we can get your clients there. As a top airfare consolidator, Sky Bird Travel has the lowest net fares to Nepal. Call or email us today to get started!

 

Are your clients looking for something off the beaten path? Are they not interested in tourist traps? Stay tuned for our Around the World series. Several times a week, we share interesting things to do in exotic places. Give your clients a new experience in old places!

 

Around the World: Asokaramaya Buddhist Temple

Around the World: Asokaramaya Buddhist Temple

This temple was first constructed in the 1870s to shelter disciples of Aluthgama Sangharatne who had gathered to hear his sermons. In the late 19th and early 20th century, the temple had buildings added on, including stupas. These stupas house relics of historical and religious significance. Buddhism is the main religion on the island and this place offers a look into its deeply rooted history without the large crowds.

Buddhism on Sri Lanka

Buddhism first came to Sri Lanka in the 3rd century BCE. From the 5th – 11th centuries, the religion flourished. However, in the 11th century, warfare with neighboring kingdoms caused the rapid decline of followers and it nearly died out until Burmese monks arrived with texts to rekindle Buddhism and ordain more monks.

From the 16th century onward, Christian missionaries from Europe have tried to convert citizens to Christianity. However, in the 19th century a Buddhist revival became the unexpected outcome of their proselytizing. Some Europeans even converted to Buddhism at the result of the movement.

Today, Buddhism remains the dominant religion of the island nation with over 70% of citizens following Buddhism. There are currently over 6,000 monasteries and 15,000 monks currently. Interestingly, Sri Lanka is the site of a large number of ordinations for women wishing to become Buddhist nuns.

Aluthgama Sangharatne: Buddhist monk

In 1873, the monk Aluthgama Sangharatne came to a nearby hermitage, or religious settlement. Aluthgama sought alms, or offerings, from the villagers and in return he lectured and gave sermons on Buddhism. A wealthy resident of the nearby village was impressed with him and decided to become is benefactor.

Originally, a small hall was constructed so that sermons could be conducted indoors. However, the monk began to draw larger and larger crowds and so expansions were undertaken, including living space for more monks to reside within the temple.

How to Get There:
Asokaramaya Temple is only 13 minutes south of central Colombo by car. Walking the 5.3 km is also an option and takes about an hour.  For flying to Sri Lanka, we’re partnered with over 90 airlines, so no matter their city of departure, we can get your clients there. As a top airfare consolidator, Sky Bird Travel has the lowest net fares to Sri Lanka. Call or email us today to get started!

Are your clients looking for something off the beaten path? Are they not interested in tourist traps? Stay tuned for our Around the World series. Several times a week, we share interesting things to do in exotic places. Give your clients a new experience in old places!

Around the World: Vedanthangal Lake Bird Sanctuary

Around the World: Vedanthangal Lake Bird Sanctuary
Chennai, India

Get in touch with nature and do some bird watching at this sanctuary – the oldest water one for water birds in the country. Due to the small lakes, this region was naturally a very popular spot with avian creatures. The government recognized the need to protect this natural area and established the sanctuary in 1858.

Birds of Vedanthangal
Over 40,000 bird species, including 26 rare species, make their nests here. Many of these species come from other parts of the globe during the migratory season.

Birds commonly found within the sanctuary include cormorants, large egrets, little egrets, night herons, painted storks, pond herons, sandpipers, shovellers, and white ibises.

The migratory birds demonstrate the great distance that some species will go during their migratory cycles. These birds include teals from Canada, snake birds from Sri Lanka, grey pelicans from Australia, storks from Siberia, and ducks from Myanmar.

Activities
Obviously, the most popular activity in this park is bird watching and listening to the beautiful calls of the birds. However, hiking, walking, and picnics by the lake are also great activities during your visit to the sanctuary.

HOW TO GET THERE
Two different routes are accessible by car, but the Coastal Road from Chennai will afford travelers an exquisite view of the Indian Ocean along the way. To book a flight to Chennai, trust Sky Bird Travel & Tours. We’re partnered with over 90 airlines, so no matter their city of departure, we can get your clients there. As a top airfare consolidator, Sky Bird Travel has the lowest net fares to the India. Call or email us today to get started!

Are your clients looking for something off the beaten path? Are they not interested in tourist traps? Stay tuned for our Around the World series. Several times a week, we share interesting things to do in exotic places. Give your clients a new experience in old places!