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Airline contracts must cover more than flight pricing

Airline contracts must cover more than flight pricing
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ALEXANDRIA, VA. – As the job market continues to strengthen, employees and travel executives will demand more from airlines and airports than at any time in the past, according to The Association of Corporate Travel Executives (ACTE). 

Eighty-one participants, with 21 travel buyers representing local and global companies based in Europe, gathered in Zurich for the ACTE Educational Forum, in conjunction with the Swiss Travel Management Association, to discuss how airlines can better meet their needs. Topping buyers’ lists of what they would like to see negotiated formalized in business contracts? How smaller companies can get the same support as big companies in terms of pricing and travel benefits. All want simplified discounts and best-price guarantees against market fluctuations; they also are looking to buy in-flight WiFi in bulk for greater savings. 

With today’s tight labor market, prospects are choosing companies that will allow them to be most efficient while on the road. Expectations travellers have for airline contracts include:

  • Lounge access
  • Fast-track through security
  • In-flight WiFi
  • Priority seating
  • Quick airport in and out

“We’ve seen that travel policies and how companies treat their travellers is an important factor in retention and motivation of current employees. Recruits also want to know a company’s travel policy before they sign on so that they understand how they will be treated when on the road,” said Greeley Koch, ACTE’s executive director. 

Koch said the mindset for travel executives has shifted to meld procurement approaches, in terms of lowest price, with the idea that they must secure amenities that will improve the journey.

“Today’s modern business traveller requires more than just on-time arrival for flights into order to stay productive,” Koch said. “Companies want to get the best ROI from every trip. They’re invested in making sure travellers can stay focused on business – not logistics – throughout their journey. Procurement groups now are charged with making sure airline contracts go beyond price.”

The Educational Forum was held 11 May 2017.

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