Carlson Wagonlit Travel (CWT) Solutions Group- North America- has recently released a white paper examining the ever-growing issues surrounding the use of Web fares in the corporate travel arena.
With travel concerns in corporations today and the constant battle of managing costs, many business travelers and travel managers alike are looking for ways to reduce travel expenses. Web fares have proven to be at center of the debate. Airlines have aggressively advertised Web fares as having lower prices for travel to popular destinations. However, airlines also have the discretion to make these fares accessible to only certain non-GDS sites and to load “private” fares into GDS-powered sites. The findings of the white paper brought out issues for business travelers such as accessibility, travel patterns, and requirements of corporate policy. The overall findings conclude that the GDS is still the best choice for corporate travel when searching for the lowest fare within an established travel policy. In fact, when traveling within the normal business policy parameters, the travel agency GDS showed a lower fare in 94 percent of those searches.
Another compelling issue surrounding the issue is the fact that with preferred supplier discounts and looking only through the GDS, travelers were still seeing a substantial savings over Internet fares. Other qualitative benefits identified in the use of corporate travel agencies include the ability of corporations to track, and have access to their travelers` schedules at any given time.
Steve Shook, Vice President of CWT Solutions Group, says the response from clients has been overwhelmingly positive. “Many of the travel mangers we work with have expressed appreciation for the extensive work completed; allowing them to make a truly informed decision. Others have told us they have passed the information on to their CFO`s to provide the quantifiable data they need.”
The white paper was a collaborative effort of the CWT Solutions Group. “The team has a wealth of experience in gathering and analyzing data, corporate fairing and Internet searches.” Shook said. The data used was collected from Internet searches, airline interviews and client surveys. Each data collection method was geared towards its respective audience—asking specific questions revolving around such things as new trends, competitive issues, policy, and web strategies.
Shook added, “We will continue to watch the issues surrounding the use of Web fares in the corporate travel environment. We will periodically refresh our analysis to confirm the findings reflect current market conditions.”