The coronavirus outbreak has taken a profound toll on the economy and the travel industry. As businesses tighten their purse strings and take a more in-depth look into their expenses, we know how important it is to make sure you have a travel agency that works for you and saves your money. This past week, we spoke with our agents and collected some of the top questions you should ask your agency to reevaluate your travel program for the remainder of 2020 and beyond.
How do you manage your approval process, especially in today's travel environment?
As business travel picks back up, it's essential to know how your agent plans to manage the approval process. That said, by automating the process to approve based on policy rules and requesting trip justifications, you can save up to 23%. Savings aside, it's also crucial to account for risk factors, including at-risk destinations, when making approval decisions.
Has your agency furloughed or laid off agents? And how will it affect customers?
With more than half a million travel and tourism industry workers laid off or furloughed this spring, now is an excellent time to check in with your agency. If they did furlough or layoff agents, how do they plan to address your needs moving forward? What tools do they have available to your travelers during these unpredictable times? Can they support your travel program for the remainder of 2020 and beyond?
While some agencies have slowed down, we've been able to leverage our technology solutions to book 40,000 plus travelers in the last few months.
Some of our stories include:
- Auto-booked last-minute flights for cargo crew pilots to evacuate stranded Americans from China and Japan to the US.
- Set up, changed, and restarted event sites for several of the largest online companies to support their delivery service providers.
- Enabled stranded passengers to self-book on multiple airlines to get home.
- Secured bookings and supported FEMA first responders 24/7 to get them to the hot spots of the pandemic as quickly as possible.
How has your agency handled unused tickets and refundable tickets?
As our economy starts to recover, cost savings remain top of mind for most customers. In the current landscape, the airline rules governing tickets change daily. Reallocating unused and tracking refundable tickets is critical. At ITS, we are successfully navigating this changing environment, and the outcome to date equates to $30 million-plus for our customers by doing the following:
- Banked airline tickets for future use
- Waived penalties and change fees where applicable
- Converted unused tickets into credits
- Obtained full refunds for non-refundable tickets
How financially sound is your travel agency?
This is an uncomfortable question to ask, but its an important one if you truly want to protect your company's best interests. For instance, ITS has a diverse client base and includes FEMA, Cargo, and Airline CREW, which all kept traveling during the pandemic. We've been lucky to report to customers a strong cash position and virtually no debt - perfectly positioned to weather this storm. Not every agency has been so fortunate. Knowing where your agency stands financially will help you to better plan the rest of your year.
At ITS, we are on a mission to change the way businesses book travel. This mindset expands past the solutions we build, to each traveler we help - especially in a crisis. If you need help with your corporate travel management, email us today at email@example.com.