FlightStats Trip Data Services

FlightChats: Why Travel Context is Redefining Value for Corporations

In this episode of FlightChats, Meara and Robyn talk about a very important actor in the corporate travel drama: the corporation itself.

They discuss why being able to access contextual data makes a huge difference when purchasing air travel for corporate travelers. We believe context is central to making a smart buying decision and it is the only way to ensure you get the greatest return on your investment.

Redefining value

Negotiating with suppliers boils down to measuring the true value of what you’re buying. Additionally, it’s critical for corporations to realize that value is about more than just getting an inexpensive airfare. The best way to truly understand the value of air travel is to take a piece of data and put it into the context of what was actually purchased. For example:

  • Did your travelers have to travel before the workday or after the work day?
  • Did they have to depart on the weekend and spend their personal time on business travel?
  • Did they arrive on time?
  • Did they misconnect?

It’s likely that you’re already spending a lot of time and energy on expense management, which makes it tempting to only consider upfront costs when buying airfare. However, not factoring in the quality and context of a trip could lead to losing money in ways you don’t immediately realize. For example, you might get inexpensive airfare, but you’re making up for it in extra hotel nights or traveler friction. There is so much that goes into the complete definition of value and it should influence your decision making. Contextual data can help guide you through the process of evaluating the true value of what you’re buying.

Providing the business intelligence you need

The challenge you’re likely facing right now is lack of information. You only have access to a few details about what you purchased, which mostly includes the price you paid. Contextual data helps you really drill down into what you actually received in exchange for a ticket. It explains:

  • The trip you bought
  • What you received for a trip
  • What might have gone wrong during a trip
  • What different parties did in order to fix the things that went wrong during a trip
  • The ultimate outcome of a trip compared to the original purchase
  • The costs accrued because those changes happened

The another part of travel context is understanding a problem with a trip in comparison to all the other air operations going on at the same time. Was the issue a standout event compared to other suppliers? Was it an incident where only one flight had a problem that day? Or were other suppliers also having the same problem?

Contextual data has all the layers that provide you with the unique business intelligence you need in order to understand not only what you are spending, but also what you are getting.

Shaping contract negotiations

At FlightStats, we’re noticing a lot of suppliers, including airlines and TMCs, are also using contextual data to expose the value of their services to corporations. This means that contract negotiations are about to change. The relationship between suppliers and corporate buyers is becoming much more dynamic. The typical large-scale commitment that currently exists will have to transform in order to yield an unquantified service value. In the end, it will create a much more elastic market.

In the future, you can expect to see travel context shaping travel policies because corporations will know what they can expect from their vendors and they can feel more confident that they’re making the right decisions. It’s an interesting change and we’re here to support the industry with the contextual data they need.

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