Although the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and the rise of Internet
booking have presented challenges, the owners of River City Travel in
Portland, Ore., say they have been able to thrive because they built
their business around fees rather than commissions. David McElveen and
Joe Murray knew airline commissions would not be around much longer, so
their business plan relied on transaction fees instead. That and their
focus on corporate clients shielded their agency from much of the
recent travel-industry turmoil.