NEW YORK -- Sometimes there just isn't enough room at the inn. However, if that inn is in a European city, Business Travel International may help find the unfindable.

BTI is a Dusseldorf, Germany-based company that assists travel agencies and corporations in locating accommodations for hard-to-book conferences in major European cities.

Alexandra Lorenzen, assistant vice president, said the company purchases room blocks in hotels throughout Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands and other countries in Central and Eastern Europe.

When a corporation asks its agency to make last-minute arrangements, and there seem to be few options or none available to them, that's when they turn to BTI for the answers, said Lorenzen.

Lorenzen said BTI has a long list of preferred vendors in Europe.

"And we look for additional hotel partners if the number of rooms we bought isn't sufficient," she said.

BTI has been in business for 14 years, helping European companies and agencies locate hard-to-find hotel rooms. But it wasn't until the summer of 1999 that the company established an office in Manhattan and began serving the U.S. market.

Marnee Horesh, the coordinator of international sales and acquisitions for Golden Books, a publisher of children's literature, has used BTI's service successfully.

"They've performed miracles for me," she said.

Horesh said her company sends representatives to two annual international book fairs, one in Frankfurt and the other in Bologna, Italy, for which she needs to book one year in advance. She recalled one time that BTI came to her aid when her list of attendees grew in the intervening months.

"A year later, we somehow had extra travelers. BTI found hotels near the book fairs at good prices at the last minute."

They also helped set up a reception for a VIP at the hotel, she added. Lorenzen said BTI usually negotiates net rates with hotels, then marks up the price when selling rooms directly to corporations. If there is a travel agency involved, the agency's commission is tacked onto BTI's markup, Lorenzen said.

Rose Ericson, a tour consultant at Euro Lloyd Travel in East Meadow, N.Y., has used BTI to find rooms for her leisure travelers.

"Once an allotment from our suppliers are sold out, they usually have something," she said of BTI.

Susan Gombos of American Express One in Calabasas, Calif., uses BTI to serve corporate travelers.

"I had a group traveling to Europe for trade shows in Hanover, Germany, and Cannes, France," said Gombos. "I came across BTI's name through advertisements in the mail. I called them and they were very helpful.

"You're always searching for people who know the local area, and BTI is owned by German people with a lot of contacts all over Europe."


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