Transformation, Technology and Traveler Experience

Highlights from TravelConnect 2018

At ARC’s fifth annual TravelConnect conference, the global air travel community exchanged ideas and dynamic discussions on the most pressing topics in travel.

Three key themes emerged from the conference: Emerging technology, customer experience and industry trends. View ARC’s TravelConnect Highlights to read the key takeaways in these areas, as well as next steps for the industry.

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ARC concluded the conference by sharing a new initiative that encapsulates its vision for the future of air travel distribution, Distribution: Evolved. The ultimate goal of NDC, technology transformations, ONE Order and other emerging distribution models is a more intelligent, aligned and comprehensive industry that generates a seamless experience for travelers. Distribution: Evolved articulates that vision and shares ARC’s perspective on how the industry can achieve this evolved future. To learn more about ARC’s Distribution: Evolved initiative, click the button below.

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Expert Insights from ARC’s Fraud Awareness Month

ARC’s risk management team recently concluded the first annual Fraud Awareness Month held throughout the month of September. The month was dedicated to creating and supporting awareness of fraud in the travel value chain to our agency stakeholders, with webinars addressing the impact of best practices and fraud-identifying tools. This series of 10 webinars presented by ARC, the private sector and law enforcement partners had over 1,800 agent and airline registrants.

The month kicked off with a webinar hosted by ARC’s Doug Nass, who gave an industry update and shared Top Fraud Schemes Affecting the Agency Community. This was followed by a webinar hosted by Tony Ashe, vice president of business development at Perseuss, discussing How to Protect Your Agency’s Bottom Line. Ashe identified that 1 to 2 percent of all airline and online travel agency (OTA) bookings via websites are fraudulent. We also learned that the global cost of fraud in the travel industry is estimated at $858 million.

The second week of the month was focused on the OTA segment, addressing complex solutions on how to combat fraud. ARC partnered with Ethoca’s Keith Briscoe and Julie Fergerson to explore ways to Fight Fraud through Collaboration. Some interesting statistics were presented, identifying that over $118 billion in transactions are falsely rejected by U.S. card issuers, versus only $9 billion in actual fraud measured by U.S. card issuers. Fortunately, some best practices for reducing false declines were also identified, and it is suggested that you measure your false decline rate by reviewing cancelled orders where the cardholder later called in to reinstate the order. Choose a random sampling of orders canceled by the manual review team, and issuer, and call the cardholder to find out what the problem was.

The Ethoca team was followed by Simon Rushforth and Eric Labiak from Featurespace, who discussed Using Behavioral Analytics to Spot Fraudsters. Bringing the week to a close was ARC’s Adnan Jafer, reflecting on why PCI compliance is a good practice for all with his webinar on PCI for Travel Agents: Protecting Valuable Customer Data.

Into the third week, we focused on ARC's value proposition in areas such as the Debit Memo Working Group, where Paige Blunt presented What Travel Agencies Need to Know About Debit Memos, followed by Jennifer Watkins presenting The Evolution of Credit Card Acceptance, Fraud Prevention and Chargeback Management. Rich Licato closed out the week presenting his webinar, You Have What Cybercriminals Want - Data Protection and Pitfalls.

The final week provided some insights on how the dark web is used to conduct fraud in the travel sector. Aaron Henry from the National Cyber Forensics and Training Alliance hosted a webinar, Fraud in the Travel Sector: Insights from Law Enforcement and Cyber-Forensics, where he illuminated how the dark web operates and the ways card details can be obtained and used to conduct fraud in the travel sector.

Fraud Awareness Month closed out with a discussion between ARC’s Cornelius Hattingh and Doug Nass; Featurespace’s Simon Rushforth; Ethoca’s Trevor Clarke; and Perseuss’ Tony Ashe reflecting on The True Cost of Fraud to Travel Agents along with some great tips and applications that agents can start using to manage fraud straight away.

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ARC Fraud Prevention

Extreme Weather Events Remind the Public of Travel Agents’ Value

This article by Jessica Montevago, published by Travel Market Report, examines the value of travel agents, especially when irregular operations are in place for air travel.

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ASTA Names ARC Technology and Transaction Partner of the Year

ARC is pleased to announce that it has been presented the Technology and Transaction Partner of the Year award by the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA). The award was given in Washington, D.C. during ASTA’s Global Convention 2018.

The ASTA awards program recognizes those individuals and organizations who make lasting contributions to the industry. ARC was selected for the Technology and Transaction Partner of the Year award by a vote of ASTA’s 9,500 individual members, who considered nominees’ dedication to, and support of ASTA and the travel advisor community.

“We are extremely honored and proud to have been selected by ASTA members for this award,” said ARC President and CEO, Mike Premo. “Over the past decade, ARC has made a concerted effort to work closer with travel advisors and their organizations and also provide the technology and products to help them succeed. We see this recognition as a validation of those efforts and look forward to making our relationships even stronger. Thank you, ASTA!”

USA is Among World’s Top Three Tourism Powerhouses

This article by Mia Taylor, published by TravelPulse, shares details from a new Travel & Tourism Power Performance Report issued by the World Travel & Tourism Council.

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ARC Customer Story: How One Agency Applies Analytics for Real Results

Ovation Travel Group realized that by combining their travel buying expertise with the right data analysis, they can meet customer expectations and maximize revenue.

Ovation Travel Group is an independently owned, $1 billion travel management company (TMC) with over 550 experienced travel consultants across the country. They realized that by combining their travel buying expertise with the right data analysis, the company would be able to secure the best deals for their 700 clients—and exceed revenue expectations.

Shane Chapman, Ovation’s senior vice president of yield management and airline industry relations, recognized that the current process of consolidating data to prepare for airline review meetings was inefficient. Without a full picture of ticketing performance or access to actionable market insights, effectively preparing for airline meetings was challenging.

Shane explained, “Preparation for meetings was time consuming and challenging, as we had to set aside time to piece together ticketing data from two GDSs and five affiliate locations. We would go into airline reviews not as prepared as we would like to be. Plus, the work didn’t stop there. We would often leave meetings with a list of takeaways to research and report back on.” What’s more, Shane was waiting fifteen to twenty days after month end to see Ovation’s performance reports from airline partners.

“Using the same data that airlines use for reporting gives us confidence in our numbers, increasing productivity and transparency in airline reviews.”

Ovation decided to explore new solutions to support supplier relations efforts and subscribed to ARC’s Agency Business Intelligence (BI) solution. Agency BI allows agencies to proactively analyze ticketing data and performance on a weekly basis, benchmarked against a customized peer group and the market as a whole, to better understand trends, make informed decisions and prepare for carrier conversations.

Shane said, “Agency BI provides a consolidated view of our ticketing data in a more timely fashion, helping us easily view changes in performance for our agency as a whole or for certain ARC numbers, while monitoring peer group performance.” Shane continued, “Plus, using the same data that airlines use for reporting gives us confidence in our numbers, increasing productivity and transparency in airline reviews.”

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Contact us to talk about how to best leverage analytics when working with your airlines. We’ll have someone reach back out to you.

How Costly are Last-Minute Travel Purchases?

Road warriors travel to sustain client relationships, acquire new business and respond to the needs of their organization. In a perfect world, a road warrior’s schedule would be predictable, organized and booked well ahead of time. But things don’t always go according to plan, and urgent business needs will always arise — often resulting in last-minute trips to meet a client, pitch a proposal, or seize an unexpected opportunity.

Because of the often-unpredictable nature of business travel, it can be difficult for travel program managers to distinguish whether a last-minute booking represents a truly urgent business need, or if it’s the result of traveler procrastination. However, new analysis from ARC and Egencia shows that organizations experience significant cost savings — sometimes exceeding 60 percent — when air travel is purchased at least 22 days in advance.

Read the full story to learn how much companies can save on premium and economy ticket purchases leading up to the date of travel.

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A Travel High That Creates Happiness: Out and About with G Adventures

What if your vacation could be your way of giving back? That provocative question is what fires up the more than 2,000 people who power G Adventures’ innovative, guided, small-group tours in nearly 100 countries around the world. With more than 750 trips for people of all ages and interests, the multi-award-winning company specializes in adventure travel that provides immersive experiences with local communities, while introducing travelers to some of the most iconic and wondrous places on Earth. They sell flights for all those adventures, too.

If you like safaris, G Adventures offers that. River cruises or sailing trips? They have those, too. Add family trips, train journeys, expedition cruises, local living experiences, active adventures and tours for nearly every budget, and you get a sense of just how diverse the company’s product offerings are.

When travelers and travel agents choose G Adventures, they become part of a social enterprise that helps make the world a little better — supporting small businesses so communities can help themselves. It’s not charity. It’s not voluntourism. It’s positive-impact travel that employs local pros, empowers local entrepreneurs, and uses local services to ensure that more of travelers’ hard-earned vacation dollars stay in the local economy, where they do the most good.

What fuels all this adventure and impact? According to Frank Schuran, G Adventures’ vice president for air and air operations, it is the company’s happiness business model. “At G, we wake up every day wanting to lead with service, create happiness and community, and change people’s lives through travel. But we also believe in embracing the bizarre now and then. So, we give our teams the freedom to deliver excellence in whatever ways work best for them. Happy employees create happy relationships that make happy, repeat customers. That’s a winning formula in our books. Who couldn’t use a little more happiness in their lives?”

For more information or to join the adventure, visit their website, or call one of their friendly Global Connection Officers at 877-277-9851.

ARC’s John Pittman and Michael White met with Frank Schuran (vice president, air and air operations), Amr Dief (director, airlines products and business development), Faisal Moqeem (manager, global ticketing, support, and air systems), and Alessandra Pelagio (general accountant).