BTC to Explore Role of Consolidators

The Business Travel Coalition (BTC) is surveying travel manager members on the role of consolidators, according to Kevin Mitchell, chairman of the group, and invites participation. In a letter to members, Mitchell said the BTC wants to get out front on the issues surrounding use of consolidators.

“BTC would like to get out in front of this issue straightway and provide you with a sound analysis that you can use that would include global best practice regarding the use of consolidators, the current level of use of consolidators in corporate managed travel programs, the benefits of using consolidators, the risks and where consolidators are being used by CTMs, how are they being integrated within the travel program,” Mitchell said. “In these kinds of hard economic times we can expect, and indeed are seeing, employees looking outside managed travel programs for lower priced air tickets. In particular, those employees authorized to travel business and first class are often actively looking at consolidator fares, spurred on in some cases by favorable press reports. It’s not unusual, for example, for a $10,000 fare, available via a corporate travel program, to be offered by a consolidator for $5,000.

“Sometimes employees investigating these lower fare opportunities are just trying, in their minds, to do the right thing for their company without understanding all the benefits and drawbacks," Mitchell said. "Other times, they are endeavoring to preserve the benefit of flying upfront by proving the ability to do it cheaper before the company changes travel policy on them. Both motivations are rational, but for TMCs and CTMs the time spent investigating the efficacy of using consolidators, and in turn, responding to travelers and senior management teams, can be time-consuming, and not without some risk if the analysis is not thorough and credible.”

To participate in this initiative, and receive a report and analysis Thursday, November 6, visit http://tinyurl.com/5pu4sy and complete the survey.

“In addition to conducting the survey and providing the results and analysis, I will create a non-public webpage for aggregating other background documents, analyses and corporate travel policies that address the use of consolidators,” Mitchell said.

Information shared with BTC will be masked in the report and company identification will be kept strictly confidential.

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