Technology and COVID-19 are conspiring to transform the connection between corporate travel and airlines
By: Kathryn B. Creedy
COVID-19 has profoundly changed the relationship between travel management companies and vendors, but it was only part of an evolution already underway wrought by increasing technology and the move to dynamic pricing. In particular, airlines have honed their technology to be more dynamic in scheduling and pegging their pricing to how much one is willing to pay, putting travel programs on defensive.
In response, travel managers and their travel management companies need to automate the sticky issues they face with their airline partners, adopting technologies to dynamically manage contracts outside the RFP cycle. And while TMC adoption is still in its infancy, these technologies signal a very different future.
“Technology plays a big role,” explains Robyn Grassanovits, vice president of travel products and emerging business at Cirium. “Now, more than ever, airlines need technology to help them surface insights that will help them make more informed decisions, help them evolve and react quickly.”
As Dan Pirnat, founder and principal consultant at Data Insights Inc., explains it, “COVID required airlines to become more dynamic, changing networks, swapping out equipment and rerouting to leisure destinations. Buyers are now taking that same approach. They can use 2019 as a starting point but those contractual mechanisms to automatically trigger changes to buyer volume and footprint, airline capacity and route networks will require active management and amendments as necessary.”