13 March 2018
For companies with any air travel volume, agents and travel teams may be required to research, negotiate and implement the best itineraries with published and negotiated fares on flights, as well as to book cars, hotels, etc. in the same fashion as individuals, but for many different travelers. The manual process puts a company in a difficult spot in finding travel efficiency, and it puts more pressure on the travel agent, or whomever handles travel management for the organization, to secure the best deal based on what’s available.
The situation is similar to what differentiates mom and pop agencies and travel managers, and how each handles the competitive edge of technology. Travel management companies and in-house travel departments require a specific level of technology in order to maintain the base-level of expectation and service for their customers or passengers, day in and day out.
Rules of the road
Through the power of online search or the use of a GDS, agents browse all fare options and sift to find the best one. The online search process can be stressful even for the most experienced agent if they have to navigate travel deals like a regular Joe. With the GDS system, manual command line entries consume valuable time booking records, not to mention the key strokes involved in browsing flights. In addition, even as the best deal is identified, there is another level of complexity that companies struggle with: adhering to travel policies and business rules.
An organization’s travel policies and business rules are ingrained in the agents or the professionals tasked with booking itineraries. From certain airlines to preferred flight times to connections, agents need to make decisions on behalf of clients or colleagues, and operate from far-from-standard procedures with a large amount of exceptions that customarily live mostly in their head. And while some leisure travel agents have the luxury of taking a personal approach with their clients, cruise lines, tour operators, and corporate travel agents are often bound by requirements that make it difficult to take advantage of the best fare in the market.
Regardless of sector, agents will always be critical to the travel team, but what some organizations don’t realize is that those business rules and travel policies can easily be implemented into the technology used to create and manage itineraries. This is where the RightRez automation comes into play.
Using the right automation, these agents can create strong business efficiencies for their organization. Air travel is one of the most volatile industries and given the state of constant flux, automated flight booking, management and ticketing options solve problems before they become one.
Automation requires a certain level of travel volume to be present, but can solve a handful of other issues, such as costly manual data entry mistakes, time savings from booking, ticketing and managing the itineraries, or just not being able to find enough qualified agents for the team. And on the negotiated fare side of things, companies feel the same pressure to fulfill an airline contract while maintaining the most ideal fares possible.
Another way in which automation can come to the rescue is by optimizing the airfare spend and identifying savings throughout the process. The amount of savings made available with the right fare optimization automation always comes as a surprise. What many agencies don’t realize is that by continually checking for a lower fare on a currently booked flight, the negotiated fare can be reduced 20 percent of the time. By putting the right automation in place to evaluate and potential schedule changes, an agent’s (often unmanageable) work load can be lessened by up to 50 percent.
Positive impacts from fare optimization and automated booking are undeniable. From users self-selecting flights to using a robotic application, an organization’s operations now open up to the path to not only the best fare, but the right fare.
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