Questioning the travel industry status quo, one blog post at a time

Posts Tagged ‘EMD’

I had the privilege of presenting to the fine folks of the FBTA last week. This is not my first time with the group, and knowing they can be a little feisty at times, I came prepared to bare all. There is no holding back with this group. They remind me a lot of the group from LABTA.

My presentation was all about airline ancillary services and the impact these might have on corporate travel managers and their travelers. Whether it’s a new bundled airline product freshly negotiated by savvy travel managers or a set of company-authorized a-la-carte optional services based on trip type or duration, a whole new world has opened up for today’s corporate travel managers… if they want it that is. I bet most will, but I suspect some will run for the hills because navigating in this new world where the corporate travel managers are negotiating the travel experience is new territory. The days of simply negotiating a discount in return for volume are long gone.  And simply getting your travelers an entry-level frequent flyer status just won’t cut it.

As is typical with this group, presenters only get through their first three slides before the “Hands of Challenge” arise. No different this day, but I expected and prepared for it. In reality, this is really what I love about this group—dialogue! Ok, maybe more like pointed questions, but I love it anyway. At first they seemed very school-like by raising their hands and politely waiting their turn to ask, but that only lasted a few minutes. We talked about how airlines are working hard to create an “experience” for their travelers rather than just a trip, and how travel managers now have the ability to influence their travelers experience by engaging airlines to customize product bundles based on type of travel—say a training venue versus a sales trip halfway around the world for the top salespeople in the organization.  Read the rest of this entry »

I recently read with great interest two articles: “Airlines Could Triple Ancillary Fee Revenue by Working with Agents” and “Airlines Forfeit $67 Billion in Revenue by Ignoring Agents, Report Says.” They focused on the opportunities for airlines to sell ancillary products through travel agencies. It is great to see growing industry dialogue on this topic, and I am in full agreement that travel agencies represent a powerful channel to sell airline ancillary products and services. However, I do believe the articles, as well as the study from IdeaWorks mentioned in both, risk oversimplifying the real issue at hand as relates to what it will take for ancillary selling to really take off in the agency channel.
So let’s talk some turkey: the real challenge is not implementation of EMDs (Electronic Miscellaneous Documents). Sure, EMDs are essential and must be supported. A few airlines, along with Sabre, Amadeus, and Farelogix already support the issuance of EMDs. As you may recall American Airlines, Farelogix, and a US-based travel agency delivered the first ARC-certified EMD. But really, looking at the full picture here, getting EMDs in place is relatively “small potatoes” compared to overcoming the vast number of imposed technical and commercial barriers to ancillary product adoption in the agency channel.

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We all know that direct connects have many benefits: reduced distribution costs, pricing transparency, a more personalized shopping experience. But again, you already know all about those, so I want to talk to you today about a benefit many seem to be overlooking: EMD & Reporting.

Lately, I’ve been hearing an awful lot about the need for an accessible standard metric when it comes to the purchasing of ancillary services. It’s a corporate travel manager’s headache… having access to detailed purchase data. For years the travel industry has looked for the credit card industry to solve the problem. Stop looking, I say… if it hasn’t happened by now, it’s probably not going to happen.

So back to the corporate travel manager. How does she know if Business Traveler Smith is charging a checked bag or an in-flight cocktail? Wi-Fi to do work or another bottle of Pinot? Business Traveler Smith has a bit of a reputation for over-serving himself at the Christmas party. How does the travel manager know that he’s not doing the same thing on the company dime every time he gets sent to Detroit? Okay, a bit of tongue and check here but in real corporate traveler manager life, corporations want the best ROI on their travel spending and that includes wanting to pay for necessities and agreed traveler convenience items and not, in this case, Business Traveler Smith’s love of white wine. Airline ancillaries are quickly becoming a way of life in corporate travel management, which is all well and good, but it’s no help if the corporations can’t track them. Read the rest of this entry »

Farelogix is highly supportive of management and settlement standards being developed around the merchandising process.  We have been the leaders in developing the first ARC certified EMD (both EMD-A and EMD-S), which is in full accordance to the IATA reporting standard. Farelogix merchandising solutions also fully support ATPCO fare filings if airlines opt to use ATP instead of alternative merchandising solutions in the market.

However, Farelogix is concerned about the recent announcement to extend the “standards movement” to the actual airline product definition and sales process. Read the rest of this entry »

Last week, I introduced a blog series on merchandising. The first installment focused on the fact that there is a wide range of opinions and emotions across the travel industry regarding this new phenomenon called merchandising. I also pointed out that there is a fair amount of misinformation and misunderstanding on the topic, and this often inhibits effective discussion and debate. So, in the hopes of leading to more fruitful and informed discussions for all of us, this second installment is a short primer on merchandising lingo. The intent here is to give us all a baseline understanding about this powerful movement that is unfolding in our industry. Read the rest of this entry »