has unveiled a new approach for booking fares from airline Web sites entirely within a managed online corporate travel system.
Called GetThere WebConnect, the technology ensures that corporate travellers can view and book the widest set of travel choices without ever leaving their company’s familiar, secure and private online travel reservation system. The live WebConnect capability is being shown to more than 200 large corporations at GetThere’s customer summit this week in Las Vegas.
According to Tim Bone, director of global travel and corporate aviation at Gap Inc., travellers are confused by the fact that certain fares can only be obtained on airlines’ Web sites.
“A number of technologies offer access to these Web-only fares, but send travellers to external sites for booking. Fully integrating these options into the GetThere online corporate travel system is key to making them practical and useable,” Bone said.
“With certain fares only available on airline Web sites, as well as the proliferation of no-frill airlines in Europe and North America, it is increasingly important to make these options available within a corporate online booking system,” said Mark Orttung, vice president of product marketing at GetThere.
“To date, most technology in this area has dropped travellers at airline Web sites to fend for themselves. This creates confusion and difficulty for the traveller and raises many questions about policies for employee privacy and security,” Ortung said.
GetThere WebConnect ensures that options from Web sites are fully integrated into the online corporate travel system - from viewing to booking and data collection.
When a traveller requests a flight, the GetThere system will search airlines’ Web sites and show Web-only fares in the same display as fares from the global distribution systems, including their corporation’s discounted rates. The traveller can book the fare, just like any other option, entirely within the online managed travel system. GetThere WebConnect uses an automated process whereby the GetThere system actually goes to an external Web site and makes the booking on behalf of the traveller. The booking data is then stored for evaluation by the corporation.
While booking options from the Web often presents short-term savings opportunities, it is most important to effectively manage overall travel activity to gain the greatest cost savings over the long term. With GetThere’s comprehensive supplier preference controls, corporations can show travellers all lower priced options from the Web, or only display them for certain flights that won’t interfere with the company’s ability to meet specified volumes with preferred airlines. The net result is that corporations take the greatest advantage of preferred suppliers and capture additional savings opportunities from the Web.
“Simply using the GetThere online system substantially reduces our average ticket prices and transaction fees. It`s also important for our travellers to have access to fares from the Web when they make economic sense, and to point out instances when they don’t,” said Bob Guardino, director of procurement and travel services at MITRE.
The live GetThere WebConnect capability is being demonstrated at the company’s annual customer summit this week in Las Vegas, and is being rolled out to U.S. customers in the second quarter of this year. GetThere expects leading airlines in Europe to be accessible in the system in the third quarter.
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