To better manage the waiver onslaught, several travel management companies, including Fox World Travel and Gant Travel, have adopted FlightGlobal's Travel Waiver Services to push airline waiver information directly to frontline agents.
Groupize has signed about 45 TMCs as resellers of its technology for venue sourcing, room block management, attendee management, registration, approvals and data and reporting on "simple" meetings. Among the dozens listed on the company's site are BCD Travel, Christopherson Business Travel, Travel and Transport and Travel Leaders Corporate.
When severe weather and other disruptions strike, airlines issue waivers that allow travelers to rebook or cancel flights without the typical fees. Yet, carriers have used manual methods to pass waiver information to travel agencies like emails or posts on their websites.
A few years ago, when Gant Travel Management emerged as an early backer of Concur's TripLink program, CEO Patrick Linnihan stated that his goal was to be "the world's best TMC for the Concur Travel and Expense user." Linnihan discussed how Gant's commitment to Concur factored into a change in ownership and agency-network affiliation, a newly installed mid office system and executive appointments.
In a memo to Concur's preferred travel management company partners last week, EVP of supplier and TMC services Mike Koetting called small businesses the industry's "white whale." With its new Concur Hipmunk product for unmanaged travel, Concur has sharpened its harpoon and joined plenty of would-be Captain Ahabs.
"What's taking so long?" Concur executive vice president Mike Koetting asked rhetorically during a Global Business Travel Association conference session in Orlando late last month. He was referring to the industry's embrace of open booking and, indirectly, to his company's own TripLink offering.
As the managed travel community chews over the implications of open booking and models that provide more traveler empowerment, travel management companies are considering where they stand and how to move forward. Gant Travel Management has made its decision and opted to embrace a new mindset.
CheckMate, which enables mobile hotel check-in and other interactions between hotels and travelers, is leveraging its relationship with investor and partner Concur to break into the corporate travel market. On Wednesday, CheckMate plans to announce relationships with several travel management companies, including Altour, Balboa Travel Management, BCD Travel, Corporate Travel Management and Gant Travel.
After breaking into the corporate travel market last year through partnerships with more than a dozen travel management companies, CheckMate has shifted to an agency-pay model and lost the support of corporate agency partners.
It used to be that if business travelers wanted to reach a travel agent, their only option was a phone call. Now, corporate travel agencies of all sizes are supporting multiple modes of communications, including chat and SMS texting, to help travelers plan, book and manage trips.