SatoTravel restricting vacation bookings to web in some areas
This story has been corrected.
WIESBADEN, Germany — Starting Saturday, people in some European military communities won’t be able to book leisure travel in person through CWTSatoTravel, but will still be able to book through the government-contracted travel service online, according to MWR officials.
SatoTravel will no longer offer face-to-face leisure travel booking at its locations in Hohenfels and Garmisch, Germany; Vicenza and Livorno, Italy; and in the Netherlands and Belgium.
Travelers will still be able to book vacations through SatoVacations Europe -- www.europe.satovacations.com -- or by calling the agency’s central office in Sembach, Germany, at +49(0)6302-923717. The number will connect to a SatoTravel agent for leisure travel, according to Dave Mattingly, business consultant for Europe’s Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation programs.
Some locations, such as Vilseck, are losing their on-base leisure booking services, but personnel can drive to a nearby base, such as Grafenwöhr, for assistance.
All locations will still offer face-to-face assistance with official travel, according to Mattingly. Customers booking official travel with leisure travel tacked on can still get personal assistance at all locations, Mattingly said.
“We really see that as the bulk of their business, anyway,” Mattingly said of combined official and leisure travel.
According to Installation Management Command-Europe, SatoTravel decided to trim the services at select locations because they were not meeting the 2,500 leisure bookings needed at a base per year to cover costs. SatoTravel charges a $68 transaction fee per airplane ticket, with reduced fees for additional tickets. For trains, ferries and lodging bookings, a $10 fee is added, and there is an additional $25 for pet shipments.
CorrectionThe story incorrectly stated the fee SatoTravel charges for booking trains, ferries and lodging. For trains, ferries and lodging bookings, a $10 fee is added, and there is an additional $25 for pet shipments.