Airlines are an easy target for gripes about their distribution of ancillary services, but what role do the major corporate booking tools play?
In Ask the Question 3, its latest video in a series about ancillary services and travel distribution, Farelogix, which has a dog in this fight, asks why corporate booking tools [GetThere and Concur Cliqbook Travel, for instance] have done so little to ease the handling of airline merchandising and ancillary services for their corporate clients.
“Aren’t they listening?” the video’s protagonist, Farelogix President and CEO Jim Davidson, asks has he flies through the clouds in his little plane. “Where are they?”
Here’s the video:
The release of the video roughly coincides with a session, “Beyond Unbundling — Repackaging the Value of Travel Management,” that Davidson moderated at the National Business Travel Association conference in Houston yesterday.
Corporate buyers were polled during the session, and only 7% responded that their primary corporate booking tool can support shopping and booking ancillary services. Another 8% indicated such support was in “active development,” and 36% chimed in that it is not under active development, but listed in a future roadmap.
Airlines have made it very difficult at this juncture for intermediaries to handle ancillary services, but there is plenty of blame to go around as GDSs and corporate booking tools haven’t exactly been nimble in their response to the challenge.
On the other hand, during the NBTA conference, Travelocity Business did announce a new solution for analyzing credit card data as a means of deciphering what employees are spending on airline ancillary services.
It’s a baby step, but it is something.
Clearly, the optional services issue is huge and will dominate distribution headlines for years to come.
Note: The¬†Farelogix’s YouTube channel features Ask the Question 2 and Ask the Question 3. What happened to Ask the Question 1? It’s not currently posted on YouTube. A Farelogix spokeswoman says it was deemed too controversial and the production of #2 was better. Hmmm. I still wouldn’t mind seeing that video-gone missing.