Case study: How Yapta’s pivot from B2C to B2B is faring
Over the last year, Yapta has gone from virtually 100% of revenue coming from the consumer business to more than 70% attributable to FareIQ.
Approximately 15 companies are currently integrated with FareIQ. These companies have an annual air spend that ranges from $2 million per year, to nearly $200 million per year.
Yapta’s working with a number of TMCs that are part of the Sabre Travel Network.
How it works
Customers use the FareIQ web portal to pinpoint chances to re-book tickets at lower prices, as prices bounce around post-booking — saving corporations crucial T&E dollars. According to Yapta:
On recognizing a savings opportunity, FareIQ immediately issues a series of messages, including email alerts, a FareIQ web portal notification, and remarks posted directly in the passenger name records (PNRs), enabling savings to be acted upon by an agent or a travel manager.
Any savings identified by FareIQ on behalf of its customers are over and above any airline imposed change fees and agency re-booking fees.
We wanted to see how the project has been faring. So we checked in with one of Carlson Wagonlit’s corporate customers, St. Jude Medical, which develops medical technology and services and is headquartered in St. Paul, Minn.
St Jude began beta-testing the tool in December 2012, according to Debbie Welder, travel manager of the domestic program at St. Jude.
St Jude Medical has $50 million a year in global spend travel spend (of consolidated US/CAN/EMEA travel).
Says Welder, who is based in the Salt Lake City office, via e-mail:
Yapta is plugged in to the organization’s TMC back-end, enabling our organization’s managers to act upon the FareIQ savings intelligence.
Plug in was extremely easy. We partnered with Yapta, and CWT (our agency).
One conference call and two forms to fill out and we were on our way.
About 6% of our ticketed transactions qualified for savings over three months.
There were no institutional roadblocks to adoption, as it is strictly a hard dollar savings. All divisions supported adopting the product for a test.
We use Concur Online Booking and CWT agents to make our reservations.
CWT and Yapta work together on the back end using a Queue system where our reservations are sent to Yapta to monitor (only certain fields are sent to protect sensitive data).
Yapta returns the bookings in a queue for the agents to process the lower fare based on criteria we set up prior to launch.
Our agency monitors the process and training was done in one team meeting with the agents.
The product integrates with agents’ workflow by monitoring pricing on individual passenger name records (PNRs) that are placed in a queue.
The only downside I see is not being able to provide the traveler name.
I understand this is due to security and Yapta doesn’t even capture it from the PNR . . . but it would make our reporting to our internal divisions clearer.
Not sure there will ever be a solution for this.
An evolving product
Yapta has made a few key changes to Fare IQ in light of its observations about how the system has performed and based on the feedback from its customers and TMC partners.
Here are some examples of product fine-tuning, according to the company:
A.) We’ve greatly improved our “natural language parsing” for dynamic fare rule detection. (In other words, we’re able to better identify the characteristics that govern a ticket’s rules.)
FareIQ can accurately track a number of different itineraries based on their key attributes – including “penalty vs. no penalty”, the amount of the change fee, if it’s changeable at all, and if a change would result in a forfeit.
Improving the determination and detection of these key attributes not only increases the accuracy, but also the number of savings opportunities.
B.) We’ve improved the handling of itineraries with exchanged tickets and wait-listed segments.
C.) We’ve developed a feedback loop for agents to indicate why they didn’t take action on a savings opportunity.
D.) We added the tracking of penalty tickets during the void window only (customer configurable).
E.) We’ve also made some minor tweaks to our savings alerts and workflow.
Says James Filsinger, president and CEO of Yapta, via e-mail:
“While it’s still too early for most FareIQ customers to publicly discuss their organizations’ specific results, everyone involved is extremely pleased with the initial volume of airfare savings that FareIQ has been able to provide thus far.”
Sean O’Neill had roles as a reporter and editor-in-chief at Tnooz between July 2012 and January 2017.