Is it cheaper online?
QUESTION: ‘What’s the comment that’s heard most often during SBT implementation in businesses? ‘
ANSWER: ‘This tool isn’t reliable. I can find it cheaper on the Internet! ’.
Travel staff, buyers and travel managers are endlessly confronted with more and more users wondering just how reliable SBT content is.
We might have expected this: ‘visual guilt’, touted as one of the big advantages of online services because it gives an average of 20% savings on tickets, is a double-edged sword.
By providing a comparative interface of available offers for the same trip (rates, companies, schedules etc.), Traveldoo is also stirring up travellers’ curiosity. As newly coined ‘travel agents’, they are being careful to choose the best value for money and, inevitably, compare with the universal information tool: The Internet!
But comparing isn’t that easy, and being a travel expert is a job unto itself! So, let’s play the transparency game – the best way to upgrade performance!
The basic rules and principles that everyone agrees on
1 – Traveldoo doesn’t set the prices
The GDSs are the foundation, and the GDSs are the same for everyone!
As the foundation of the system, these pricing platforms are the bibles of the service providers who manage the content. Transporters, hoteliers and vehicle rental agencies are responsible for accessible cargo and availabilities. Traveldoo is used as a shop window for travellers to use. They can also do their shopping in the vast online marketplace.
2 – Results change
The Traveldoo search engine enables users to see availability in real time.
The principle: One request = one result. A new request = a new result. And so on.
Managed by service providers’ constantly adjusting yield management systems (*), the search results are therefore a unique, temporary collection of offers that may be reserved on Traveldoo at a given moment. In just one second, the same search may give a different set of results.
3 – Compare like with like
If I want to do price comparison on the web, I have to be sure that I’m comparing apples with apples! So, I have to check ticket conditions (flexibility, dates, class, baggage allowance, seat, meal, insurance etc.) to ensure I’m weighing two offers that are totally identical. It’s even trickier if I want to start two searches at exactly the same time and take into account that one of the two search engines might be displaying the last available place.
4 – If I find something cheaper elsewhere, I won’t get the difference reimbursed
To add further complexity to these price comparisons, providers play price games and make amazing use of loss-leader pricing to promote themselves. So, before claiming victory and roasting my Travel Manager, I need to actually finalise the order on merchant sites! I realise quite quickly that the airfares published on the front pages exclude the infamous airport and fuel taxes, which Traveldoo builds in from the beginning!
5 – Everyone negotiates, engagement pays off
Using the same principle as for the negotiated rates offered to businesses, providers offer favourable conditions to distributors by contracting with the large organisations that are capable of handling high annual sales volumes. This ‘allotment’ technique enables resellers to offer a competitive and exclusive product without worrying about seasonal concerns. Well played! If I had the same buying power, I’d surely do the same thing!
6 – Some pieces of the pie are already taken
Even if nearly all offers are shared and placed on the market in a fair and equal way via various channels, providers reserve the right to sell direct.
- Yes: a phone call can get you a spot even if Traveldoo doesn’t show any more availability.
- Yes: connections and direct routes have different conditions and additional discounts
- Yes: certain rates are reserved for leisure travel and not available for business trips …
But these are still exceptions, and rare. It is still better overall to book through Traveldoo.
7 – It’s about time windows
Traveldoo simplifies the user experience with an interface that automatically adjusts the display according to user settings. The proposed offers take into account not only the travel policy rules, but also the travel times that are best suited to users’ needs. There’s no point offering a 5 p.m. departure to a traveller who wants to fly in the morning, or to get them lost in a stack of 25 rail itineraries for a same-day return train journey. So Traveldoo presents suitable options, not necessarily the very cheapest but the most appropriate ones available.
8 – Traveldoo: it’s my choice
In addition to being a pricing platform, Traveldoo is the single centralised channel that takes my travel policy and strategy from end to end. It’s my partner on all levels. It ensures that my contracts are applied, my travel policies are observed, my suppliers are used; that the workflow settings are right, expenditures are monitored; that my travellers are safe, that volumes are centralised for negotiation, that my invoices are all reconciled … And that — well, that’s priceless.
(*) Yield management: A management practice used by providers that enables them to vary rates available for sale depending on the rate of occupancy.