It all comes full circle…

» Posted by on Dec 23, 2014 in Electronic Travel Systems, Industry Postings, Travel Management Centers | 0 comments

One of the most fascinating aspects of the ETS systems in place for government travelers is that they are not ARC accredited. The differences and similarities between the commercial GDS-like systems (such as Travelocity, Orbitz, Expedia) and those designed for the government traveler and ARC accreditation are based upon who is doing the buying and how the tickets are purchased. Cutting a fine point, it seems that no GDS-like system is, in itself, ARC accredited. The GDS is only a tool to reserve seating and ARC accreditation is based upon the entity handling the funds. The commercial GDS-like systems probably do not require ARC accreditation as their business models are an attempt to ‘cut out the middle man’ by allowing the consumer to directly purchase airfare from the airline. The commercial GDS-like systems make money from advertising and probably some contractual understanding with the airlines for listing flights or offering priority status in searches. Those systems designed for the government traveler are not in themselves ARC accredited since they are mechanisms to record travel proposals which are ticketed by the TMC. Due to the volume of government travelers who are using the government’s line of credit, the needs of the USG requires the flexibility of services of a TMC and accountability that an ARC accreditation offers. Of some interest is the imitation in the commercial market of the ETS/TMC model for corporate travel of private companies. Currently, traditional travel agencies are offering online booking options such as Concur or their own branded software with the additional in-person support of a TMC. This was to offer both the convenience of online booking, however also taking advantage of the weak customer service provided by the direct sale online companies by offering better in-person support. It seems that the circle has been completed by private commercial online booking influencing government innovation, which in turn influences innovation in the private corporate market.
By Olivia Tautkus

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