New Technology Helps TMCs and Corporations Slash Airline and Lodging Costs

by Barbara Peterson

Travel management companies (TMCs) can realize significant savings for major corporate accounts by using a new monitoring tool that effectively outsmarts the GDS and beats even negotiated rates.  

Yapta keeps an eye on air fares and hotel rates even after booking, and pings the agency whenever prices go down. Its software sifts through millions of fares to find bargains, so TMCs can instantly rebook air or hotel reservations, without the traveler’s ever even being aware of the change.  

Seattle-based Yapta introduced Fare IQ, which tracks air fares, three years ago. It followed in 2014 with Room IQ, which does the same with hotel reservations.  

James Filsinger, Yapta’s CEO, said the company’s corporate clients, including Shell Oil, GAP, Eli Lily, Merck, and Macy's, have realized combined savings of more than $21 million on air fare alone—an average of $369 per trip. 

 “Basically, if the fare drops enough beyond the change fee, it can be reticketed,” he said, whether it was booked directly by the client or by a travel management company (TMC).    

Yapta only makes money if the customer sees savings, from which it takes a percentage.  The savings always outweigh the costs of doing the work it takes to ferret them out, Filsinger said.   

Yapta’s customers include large travel agencies, such as Travizon, Ultramar, and Carlson Wagonlit Travel.? They are essential to the success of Yapta, in fact, because they’re the ones actually doing the re-booking on behalf of their clients. Yapta simply identifies the savings and alerts the TMC.   

One trend that has helped entrants like Yapta is that discounts being offered to corporate customers are less generous than they used to be, and “travel contracts don’t yield the level of savings they used to,” said Anita Salvatore, Travizon’s executive vice president of global account services.  

More than 50 Travizon clients have signed on for Fare IQ, with a smaller number also choosing to add the Room IQ option. Salvatore said her agency has realized an average savings of about 3% on its $8 million gross air spend using Yapta.  

“The beauty of Yapta is that you book through one of the sanctioned channels,” she said, either a corporate online booking tool or an agent assigned to the account. Once a ticket is issued, the Yapta service pings the agency if a lower fare is found.   

The majority of these changes occur during the void window—typically 24 hours—so there’s no change fee involved, Salvatore said. “So when we find the lower fare we just automatically change it, and it keeps everything else intact—flight number, seat assignment, and so on.” 

While some corporate clients may resist changing their procedures to use more technology, Travizon’s Silicon Valley and other tech clients seem more willing to embrace innovations like Yapta. And it’s not surprising that other startup ventures are getting into the act. Dallas-based TripBam,  for example, focuses exclusively on the hotel segment; it differs from Yapta in that it creates “clusters” of properties surrounding the client’s booked hotel, and then continues to search rates in that whole cluster right up to the day of arrival.  TripBam CEO Steve Reynolds, at a recent presentation at a Phocuswright forum, said the company has signed a number of major TMCs as customers.  

  3
  0
Tip of the Day

Something could happen to any of us, the loved ones we travel with, or in this case, to the magnificent marvels put up by those who came before us. So we must travel as far and as often as time and money allow.


Stefanie Katz, The Travel Superhero

Daily Top List

Five Good Reasons to Tell Your Clients About Loyalty Programs

1. Saves money for your clients.

2. Saves time for your corporate clients.

3. Gets all sorts of perks for your clients.

4. Offers enhanced reporting to corporate clients.

5. Provides better service and better client relationships.

Source: TMR.

TMR THIS WEEK
http://services.travelsavers.com/AMGService.svc/REST/GetImage?ImageID=b75eceda-865f-e911-b4aa-782bcb66a2f2

5 Good Reasons to Tell Your Clients About Travel Loyalty Programs

Loyalty programs, also known as frequent buyer programs, have been around for a long time. But you might be surprised to know that many travelers don’t know about them. Here are five good reasons for travel advisors to spread the word to their customers, both leisure and corporate travelers.

TMR Recommendations
Top Stories
Headquarter Happenings: MAST Travel Network Marks 50 Years
Headquarter Happenings: MAST Travel Network Marks 50 Years

As the industry blossoms, storytelling and one-on-one interactions bring a record number of travel advisors back to their Chicago roots.

Six Mistakes That Could Be Hurting Your Social Media Marketing Strategy
Six Mistakes That Could Be Hurting Your Social Media Marketing Strategy

As you build a social media following, learn how to sidestep the mindsets and actions that can put a damper on your success.

From One Million to Two in Travel Sales: How Advisors Can Jump the Hurdle
From One Million to Two in Travel Sales: How Advisors Can Jump the Hurdle

Research shows that the leap from $1 million to $2 million is among the toughest hurdles for travel advisors. So, take a little while to bask in your glory — and then try these proven ways to move to the next level.

How One Travel Advisor Staked Her Claim on Travel to France
How One Travel Advisor Staked Her Claim on Travel to France

Moving from a generalist to specializing in custom FIT and group trips to France is forcing Isabelle Williams to learn a whole new set of skills.

Going Platinum: Thoughts from Three Travel Advisors Celebrating 20 Years in Business
Going Platinum: Thoughts from Three Travel Advisors Celebrating 20 Years in Business

It was the year of 9/11, when the pundits were saying travel agents were a dying breed. But with over two decades in business, Vicki Briggs, Brenda Punchak and Cheryl Scavron have each proved them wrong.

Divers Need Travel Advisor Expert Guidance
Divers Need Travel Advisor Expert Guidance

The unique nature of diving destinations, and the physical danger clients could experience, make expert travel advisors invaluable. Part two of our two-part series.

News Briefs
TMR Report Cards & Outlooks
Advertiser's Voice
Advertiser's Voice: Tropics and Exotics 2020 -2021 Collection