In light of health concerns for crowds, this Triton Networking event has been postponed. A new date will be announced in the coming weeks.
Global Marine Travel — GMT — will host our mid-month Triton Networking event on March 18. All yacht captains, crew and industry professionals are welcome to join us at GMT’s offices off 17th Street in Fort Lauderdale from 6-8 p.m.
Until then, learn more about the travel benefits marine professionals can receive from company founder Tim Davey.
Q. Tell us about GMT.
GMT is a niche travel agency dedicated to the maritime industry that provides marine air fares on more than 50 airlines and their partners worldwide.
After I finished my 10-year career at sea, I started GMT in December 2001 with the help of an equity partner. At the time, there was no one in the yachting community who focused on the travel needs of yachts, their captains, crews and guests. We saw a niche business and decided to build upon it.
Today, we’ve expanded to become a truly global travel manager, giving our clients 24-hour coverage along with our flexible, refundable, changeable airline ticket program.
Q. Tell us more about that ticket program.
A marine airfare is a negotiated one-way refundable and changeable ticket with extra free baggage allowance; therefore, the flight reservations can be changed or cancelled at minimum or no fee. It is convenient when vessels need to fly in crew. This way they don’t need to purchase a round trip and lose the other part of the ticket. The same special fares apply to companies flying technicians and engineers to service the vessel.
Q. With the internet being in everyone’s hand these days, why would a crew member use an old-fashioned travel agent to book a flight?
Yes, with the internet, everyone’s a travel agent. But in a way, that’s easier for us since the traveler becomes more educated. Unfortunately, it also leads to a lot of misconception and frustration, as well. For instance, travelers will see great prices on Kayak or Skyscanner and say, “why can’t you get those prices?”
Those screen-scraping sites tease travelers with a lead-in of very low prices and will flash advertising as they click through the site. At the end, the low fare has either increased with the extra charges (baggage fees, service charges, seat assignment fees, etc.) or it simply will say “sold out”.
For those lucky enough to actually book the low fare from the screen-scraping sites but then want to make a date change, well, forget about it. There’s little chance they can do it online or get a human being on the phone to help. The screen scrapers make their money from the advertising, not necessarily the airline ticket.
Our model is simple: Our price is fair market value and is all inclusive. We transparently show the airline costs and our one-time service fee, which offers 24-hour coverage via our agents, who are awake and working shifts in different parts of the globe, including our new acquired business in Athens, Greece. We now have 15 agents joining our network from their base in Athens. This not only strengthens our European coverage but gives us access to even better air fares.
Booking and traveling with us is far less hassle than booking on your own. You have a team behind you by booking with GMT. You can travel knowing that you always have support should anything change or go wrong. Consider working with us like an advance insurance.
Q. There have been other acquisitions in your recent past. Tell us about those.
Our business is volume based. Outside of the yachting industry, we support cruise lines, container vessels and the offshore oil industry with their travel needs as well. For instance, with one cruise line, we fly 18,000 travelers a year just from the Philippines alone to wherever their vessels are around the world.
To attract and manage that business, we’ve needed to bring in strong partnerships, hence industry leaders such as Inchcape Shipping Services and now V. Group have been vital to our continued growth. Our turnover now exceeds $250 million and our goal is to reach $300 million by the end of 2021.
What that means is access to better terms and conditions, plus more favorable fares from the airlines that we can pass down to all our travelers.
Q. How should crew interact with GMT?
Our preferred method of contact is still via email, as then we have a trackable record of all requests. However, if that’s not convenient, our main phone number (+1 954-761-9595) plus our local numbers around the world will get any crew member straight to a live agent at all times who can assist. Travelers can also place a request via our website as well (www.flygmt.com).
Q. Tell us a little about yourself.
I’ve loved building this company and the associations/relationships I’ve made along the way. We have a quality product and have a reputation as a great solutions provider. This, in turn, has enabled me to reinvest into the yachting community in terms of sponsorship and various charity efforts and contributions. I truly believe in giving back to the community that supports us. Onward and upward together.