Over the past year since Airlines Reporting Corp. (ARC) launched its Aria Business Intelligence (BI) product, travel agents of all sizes are increasingly realizing the benefits of tracking and acting on airline booking trends.
For example, Aria, released in May 2017, offers a dashboard-style display of detailed ARC-settled ticketing data that can help agents understand what routes they are booking seasonally, identify passenger patterns and pinpoint destinations of interest.
A sales-trends graph is available to help agencies quickly see when there were spikes or dips in overall sales, and drill down to that particular period. Agents can also compare their performance to anonymous peer groups.
“We are very bullish on these tools, and the feedback we are receiving from agents of all sizes is that [airline sales] data is becoming more and more important,” said John Pittman, ARC's agency sales director.
ARC also provides its Agency BI product, which has been in the market for about three years. Pittman said that agents of all sizes subscribe to both tools, from those with a few million dollars in annual sales to much larger consortia and agencies, including Ovation, Egencia and Travel Leaders Group.
While larger agencies gain the greatest benefit from Agency BI, especially in their negotiations for financial concessions with carriers, any agent looking to track their airline sales can gain helpful insights from the less expensive Aria, Pittman said.
“Aria is definitely built for agents in the smaller range,” Pittman said. Aria is designed to be affordable for any ARC agency since pricing is based on the volume of settled transactions.
ARC’s reporting tools will become even more important to agents, Pittman said, as the global distribution systems and airlines roll out the New Distribution Capabilities (NDC), allowing agents to book airlines more through multiple channels.
“That is one of the value propositions of our tools. We’re agnostic to booking channel. We can aggregate data from two, three, four GDSs, back offices, and it is a clean picture of your sales, everything you have done,” he said.
Because ARC does not track reservations by agent, Aria cannot drill down to assist someone looking for booking trends by independent contractors under a host agency.
Aria provides efficiency for mundane operations requirements, like providing a client with airline transaction receipts. In a new payment method enhancement, Aria now allows agencies to search by ticket number, the last four credit card digits, passenger name and tour code.