Getting the Traveler Compliant

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» Posted by on Dec 15, 2014 in Airlines, Global Distribution Systems | 0 comments

When the government deregulated the airlines in 1978, it was based on the premise that it would improve the industry and offer travelers more options and better prices.  One area  that seems to be a sticking point is the global distribution system.  For us travel professionals who know there are differences and that every airline has the option to choose what they want to do, we adapt.  It is the occasional or green traveler who suffers the most.

One of the challenges I face is travelers feel that they can get a better deal searching themselves on the internet, rather than using the States TMC.  One reoccurring theme is that travelers are unaware that different  pricing models exist between the airlines, the 4 GDS’ and the  internet booking tools and that some airlines may only advertise on some, or not advertise at all.

Although the airline and GDS practices are perfectly fair and legal, no different than choosing which yellow page book an airline wants to advertise in, the unintended consequence is a traveler who may choose only to use one online booking engine, unaware that the tool he may choose doesn’t have the airline that can get there non-stop vs. going through one or multiple hubs.

One of our jobs is to educate travelers so they understand the differences and trying to educate the traveler is sometimes an uphill battle. With the vast number of people traveling for the government, it is sometimes a daunting task.   So how do we do this? Forums, educational manuals, on-line tools.   These are all effective methods of training, and we travel managers should be putting this in our toolbox when we explain the benefits of using out TMC vs. searching on their own.

This certification program is also a great venue that explains the pluses and minuses of the GDS, airlines and internet booking tools. Maybe there should be a pared down of this course for the traveler and make it a requirement for every person who travels take the course.

by Tim Hay

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