Changing skies of air travel – and reeling in the “rogues”

GBTAHaving recently returned from the annual Global Business Travel Association’s conference in Toronto, Joel Ostrov, president of Vision Travel Solutions, reflects on some of the industry’s current hot buttons.

Ostrov notes that cost containment has ramped up dramatically in the oil and gas sector over the past few months, but conversely corporate accounts are moving away from Air Canada’s cheapest Tango fares, opting for tickets that may cost more but allow more flexibility, saving money in the long run. “That’s part of our job:  to best serve clients and educate them about the value proposition that cheapest is not necessarily in their best interest.

“At the conference there was also a lot of buzz about Toronto’s Billy Bishop Airport [also known as the Toronto Downtown or Island Airport].  Will jets be allowed, as Porter Airlines hopes?  Lots of folks were talking about the pros and cons.”

When it comes to loyalty programs, it’s no surprise that in Ostrov’s opinion they are here to stay.  But as he points out, it can be hard to explain to the consumer that there aren’t an infinite number of seats available on points. “The airlines just can’t make every seat on a flight a non-revenue one – particularly at peak travel periods,” he commented.

Joel Ostrov

One of the hottest topics both at GBTA and within Vision is the “rogue” traveller:  employees who book any element of their travel not in accordance with corporate policy.  This may be due to personal preferences or the genuine belief that because they found a cheap fare or room online they are doing their employer a favour.

“On the contrary!” says Ostrov.  “Not only does this mean they might not meet their sales targets with particular supplier,  and therefore forfeit a bulk-buy discount in future – they have also squandered company time researching that fare or hotel room.” He also emphasized that rogue bookers are not caught in the safety net of Duty of Care offered by Vision Travel, ensuring that travellers on the road are as informed and secure as those who have booked their trip with their firms designated Travel Management Company.

“We are committed to helping our corporate accounts educate and rein in their rogue travellers and help diminish these downsides,” says Ostrov.  Your Vision account executive is always there to help.