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Why manual corporate travel waivers don’t work

February 27, 2020

What’s the point of corporate travel waivers if employees can’t access the best options in real-time and end up charging […]

What’s the point of corporate travel waivers if employees can’t access the best options in real-time and end up charging the costs back to their company anyway? If you’re in the online travel business, chances are this is a frustrating question that crops up all too often.

Airlines do, of course, issue exceptions to their change fee policies in the form of waivers – for when severe disruption affects a passenger’s trip. There’s no shortage of waivers available. In fact, there are often numerous options designed to get consumers to their destination as rapidly and painlessly as possible.

So, where’s the disconnect?

The trouble is these travel waivers often go unused, as identifying, communicating, and changing travel plans is invariably a slow and frustrating process for passengers.

Corporations, and their TMCs, asked us to help them avoid wasting money and time. Knowing we already partner with the majority of the world’s airlines to monitor flight status, they said there has to be a better way. Drawing upon our decades of travel industry experience, along with the world’s biggest data lake, we created the most accurate way to manage disrupted travelers. But first, let’s unpack the problem.

Why traditional travel waivers don’t work

The fundamental problem with travel waivers is not so much the provisions of the waivers themselves, rather the way in which they are published and communicated. There is no automated connection between the waiver and the rest of the traveler journey. To put it bluntly, too many consumers don’t even know the service is available. How could they? It’s completely manual. Even if the information does make it onto their radar, the details are so complex. The traveler switches off – and books another flight, or worse, just sits and waits.

The problems:

  1. The traveler does not get the information straight away via text, or they need to actively search for it.
  2. There is a lack of consistency in the structure or format of waivers – making the identification of the right document and its application too complicated.
  3. The ‘traditional’ method relies on the travel agent’s availability and memory – increasing the time it takes to find the right waiver, and potentially missing it or misinterpreting it.
  4. The more time spent looking for an answer means missing out on the best options for new flights and re-accommodation.

The solution:

Cirium Travel Waiver Services is a unique solution that has transformed this entire process. Our streamlined APIs provide flexible access to timely trip information while avoiding complex data cleansing and development costs.

Travel Waiver Services is an add-on to our Proactive Services suite. It takes airline exception waivers during great disruptions, normalizes and structures them, and then matches waivers to travelers’  trips. TMC and Airline agents are able to then anticipate traveler needs and re-accommodate them proactively. Some customers choose to even directly inform travellers or other appropriate audiences with mobile and email messaging.

Discover how we work in partnership with JTB Business Travel to minimize trip disruption.

The benefits:

  • Reduce wasted time trying to get assistance by 35%
  • Avoid unnecessary stress for travelers and increase their satisfaction
  • Help your customers get to their destination faster and contribute to more successful trips
  • Stop missing out on unused or refundable tickets and ultimately reduce your costs

The cost of travel disruption

If you work for an OTA or business travel company, you don’t need anyone to tell you disruption hurts. Whether it’s an air traffic control strike, a natural disaster, extreme weather or a major global crisis – such as the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus – that delays airline operations, the financial impact on your business can be severe.

Corporate travel managers face regular challenges and additional costs when dealing with air travel in these circumstances The costs can be both expected and hidden, as the knock-on effects of the disruption ripple through every stage of the customer travel journey.

You must rise to the challenge of allocating extra resources to tackle the higher administrative workload which bumps up costs even further.

Since 2018, an estimated 10% of all flights are delayed over 30 minutes or cancelled. That can result in a total cost of about 3% of air spend, and the issue can impact productivity of travelers, employee retention, cause missed business opportunities, reduce employee satisfaction and retention.

In these situations, airlines will often issue Airline Policy Exception Waivers. Travel waivers typically permits changes to the ticket that the fare rules will not allow. Such as, no change fees, additional collections, or refund non-refundable tickets.


Discover how we work with online travel companies and contact our team.

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