Thurs, July 16 at 1:00 PM ET / 10 AM PTSponsored by: TripActions
Thurs, July 23 at 11am ET / 8am PTSponsored By: American Express Global Business Travel
Thurs August 6, at 1:00 PM ETSponsored by: Cvent
Virtual Event - July 29, 2020
Virtual Event - September 9-10, 2020
Hyatt Regency Boston - October 12-14, 2020
Filter in or out as many as 200 cities, as well as hotel and car rental class and meals of the day and watch as the per-diem calculator automatically adjusts per diems to your program. Drill down into cost breakdowns and export the results.
Big airlines are going after billions in ancillary sales and driving industry providers to accommodate them in booking and data reporting, but not all top carriers are on board. Speaking here this week at the Business Travel & Meetings Show, Lufthansa general manager for the U.K. and Ireland Marianne Sammann called the "all-inclusive philosophy" a "success story."
"Delivering value for the customers and differentiating our product requires continuing investment in our fleet, in our product on board and on the ground," she said during a panel discussion. Considering continued pressure on ticket prices that limits the cash flow available to make such investments, Sammann said she understands the difficulty airlines face in upholding perceptions of value. However, she said, "I don't see how stripping the product of elements declared as ancillary will be seen as helpful for our customers. We think that our customers--and that refers to consumers and travel buyers--want to know what actually they are getting for the price they are paying. We feel the service we provide has to have a price that includes a product that everyone understands, with transparency and a clear message on what the cost is for our part in the itinerary."
The "all-inclusive philosophy" is "how we wish to continue to work," Sammann concluded.
Travel management company representatives and a corporate buyer on the panel welcomed the perspective and reinforced the well-publicized charge that unbundling creates confusion and complexity. Nevertheless, many in the industry expect airlines to push further ahead with the strategy, and data reporting providers are attempting to capture data on the extra purchases.
Sabre vice president of product marketing Kyle Moore during the discussion said that some airlines have suggested optional services could grow to 30 percent of what travelers pay for air travel.
In an interview with Management.travel, Moore said a figure recently reported by TRX "probably understates the true cost." Analyzing more than 8 million tickets covering $3.8 billion in air spend, TRX determined that "ancillary airline fees account for between 0.75 percent and 1.5 percent of the total air spend, with the average being less than 1 percent."
TRX boosted efforts to provide reports on ancillary expenses after clients expressed demand for it and as airlines during the past few months began detailing optional purchases on card charges, according to TRX executive vice president for product architecture Kevin Austin.
"The interesting metric is that while the ancillary air fees for business travelers seem negligible (less than 1 percent), the amount spent on other charges is significant," according to Austin. He said meals, fuel, taxis, cash advances and other miscellaneous items represented about one-third of travel budgets--roughly equivalent to both overall air spending and combined car rental and lodging expenses.
Nevertheless, Austin said TRX is attempting to help customers get a handle on ancillary airline fees to help with policy creation and supplier contracting. "Most of our clients are interested and almost all of them have asked whether we can do this, which really moved it to the forefront over the past quarter for us," said Austin. Considering the increase in types of add-on fees, customers are focusing on average total trip cost, Austin said.
Cornerstone Information Systems vice president of marketing and customer solutions Alan Minton said such reporting is "the No. 1 request I get from clients" using the company's iBank product.
Cornerstone already can report on fees outside the base fare, Minton said, but "the issue is the ability of the supplier to provide detailed data on these fees to the appropriate channel. We will be releasing in April a new iBank feature set that focuses on the improvement of miscellaneous or 'ancillary' fee reporting. Specifically, we have focused on the ease of use of data capture, data mapping and reporting enhancements in anticipation of better ancillary fee data becoming available."
According to TRX's Austin, a handful of airlines during the past few months began annotating data sent to card companies to indicate optional purchases by travelers. TRX matches that card data with booking data from travel management companies and reimbursement data from expense reports.
"We can break out things like inflight Internet, inflight meals and beverages, baggage fees, upgrades, premium fees and lounge fees," said Austin. "I view this whole issue with the ancillary fees on the airline side and the unbundling as more about participation than standardization. It's kind of like hotel folio data: the more hotels that participate and provide data, the better it gets. We are able to identify each type of charge on American, British Airways, Delta, Lufthansa, United and US Airways. United does a really nice job. They identify the first baggage charge, the second baggage charge, overweight baggage fees, premium economy upgrade fees [and] inflight meals. On the card side, we get merchant information so we can tie in where an employee might charge something on GoGo [inflight Internet], so it comes through as a fee from an airline, but we know that is inflight Internet and we can tie it back to the same time period.
"Our rules engine is able to pick out where these carriers are placing this information and where the card vendors are placing it in different places, and pull it all together," Austin added. "Almost every carrier differs in how they are representing it and where they are representing it. It varies by carrier and by card vendor."
Other data consolidation service providers said they were not offering detail on ancillary charges.
JetBlue in October will end service currently operated at Long Beach Airport and move some of that...
Norway's largest airports are transitioning to a touchless experience for domestic travel, through...
Sixt is taking over 10 airport locations from the bankrupt Advantage Rent a Car, giving the German...