Corporate travel represents one of the most complex — and most valuable — segments of travel. An ecosystem of industry players is invested in business travelers’ success, including the traveler’s company; their travel manager; travel management company (TMC) or travel agency; and the airlines and other suppliers that make the trip possible.
ARC connects the players in this ecosystem, enabling them to do business together. In addition to acting as a commercial partner, ARC also works throughout the corporate travel ecosystem to create an environment where travelers have more seamless experiences across every channel.
Managing Commerce Between TMCs, CTDs and Airlines: ARC has deep relationships with the airline and travel agency/TMC community, providing the framework and tools they need to exchange payment for airline tickets.
For corporations that want the ability to book airline tickets on behalf of their business travelers — functioning like an in-house travel agency — ARC provides the Corporate Travel Department program, vetting and accrediting a corporate travel program through a process much like how it accredits travel agencies.
Often, CTDs partner with a TMC to provide a more holistic support system for their corporate travelers. TMCs’ services go far beyond managing transactions: TMCs often consult on travel program design, recommend travel policy, and enable booking and servicing technology platforms for their corporate clients. Many TMCs also provide proprietary booking software and apps to connect with corporate travelers wherever they are. In addition to facilitating travel, travel managers and TMCs are also responsible for fulfilling duty of care and extending support to travelers in case of an emergency.
ARC also provides TMCs, CTDs and airlines with rich reporting data, equipping them for strategic conversations with their suppliers and sales partners. ARC data represents a central, objective source of travel purchase data and provides options for its customers to benchmark performance against similar companies.
Overhauling Legacy Technology: Much of the travel industry is working with outdated technology platforms that greatly limit the industry’s ability to provide a seamless, flexible travel experience. Most of the ticketing processes still in place today were designed for paper airline tickets, many decades ago.
ARC is in the process of transforming its own technology infrastructure, moving its transaction processing and data solutions to more flexible, cloud-based systems. To help the travel ecosystem move forward into a more flexible, connected future, ARC also consults with airlines and travel agencies on new systems, processes and schemas, such as New Distribution Capability (NDC). ARC helps them identify the necessary steps to implement these updates and partners with them to bring these new processes online.
Championing Data-Driven Duty of Care: Now, perhaps more than ever, it’s critical that travel managers use the data at their disposal to understand where all their travelers are at any given time. Last year, ARC announced an investment in Traxo, a company that specializes in duty of care for corporate travel, giving travel managers visibility into trips that their travelers have booked outside of their online booking tool or TMC. With the rapidly changing nature of travel restrictions and health concerns in 2020, platforms like Traxo help improve traveler safety and security.
Investing in Omnichannel Retailing Capabilities: ARC believes that the corporate travel experience can be improved by more consistent booking experiences across every sales channel. This is why ARC has invested in nuTravel, a company that designs corporate booking platforms for airline websites, and Blockskye, a travel blockchain developer focused on facilitating corporate-direct payments. By investing in both the travel agency sales channel and the direct airline sales channel, ARC is working to build a more connected, omnichannel future for the corporate travel experience.
ARC’s vision is for corporate travelers to be able to buy their air travel anywhere and receive service anywhere, anytime they need it. COVID-19 has exacerbated some of the biggest pain points in corporate travel, including servicing rights and accessing unused ticket value. ARC is working to build an environment where these challenges are solved for, creating greater transparency and enhancing the traveler journey.