Corporate travel programs face many challenges — one of which is fragmentation across purchasing channels. Business travelers may have the option to buy from a variety of channels, but whether they realize it or not, their choice of purchase channel alters many other variables of their trip.

Travelers often have the option of booking through their travel management company (TMC), their corporation’s online booking tool (OBT), an online travel agency (OTA), or direct through the airline website. Each of these channels offers different benefits and limitations.

Depending on the purchase channel, the traveler may not have access to the full breadth of airline products. The purchase channel also impacts the level of customer service their TMC can provide, which is especially critical when flight cancellations or delays arise. The corporate travel program may receive rich, comprehensive data — or none at all — significantly influencing duty of care, as well as reporting.

Wouldn’t it be so much easier if the business traveler could purchase their airline ticket in any channel and receive the same robust products and customer service, no matter where they buy? As a frequent traveler myself, that’s the experience I want. And that’s what we are working to build.

At ARC, we believe that the future of corporate travel is a consistent, omni-channel experience that provides the traveler with access to the same rich product and servicing options, regardless of booking channel, reducing friction and enhancing trip success.

Our air travel ecosystem is closely connected, with many interdependencies. So, this integrated future will require significant collaboration and investment, particularly in technology infrastructure and data platforms. But we’re already seeing many digital transformations take shape in travel — this integrated future is definitely within reach!

Want to hear more about the possibilities ahead for corporate travel? Join me at The Beat Live, where I'll share some of these ideas on The Views panel on September 18. I'll share how an integrated future will:

  • Create a better end-to-end experience with less trip friction
  • Ensure policy compliance and access to contracted fares, regardless of channel
  • Empower TMCs to better service all client tickets
  • Provide travel managers with easier access to more robust data
  • Enable airlines to deliver in-policy, personalized product and service offerings

While there’s still a lot of work to do, we are getting closer to achieving this environment of omni-channel content and channel-agnostic servicing. The future of corporate travel is incredibly promising — for airlines, travel agencies, technology providers and, most importantly, the traveler.