15 April 2004
Aggregated fare prices for airline journeys and hotel rooms are expected to feature heavily in the next phase of travel management outsourcing.
Delegates at the Institute of Travel Management's event in Wales heard that a one-price-fits-all approach for hotels and airfares was becoming increasingly popular.
"Aggregated" fares are agreements in which a travel procurement company does a bulk deal for flights or hotel rooms with the provider, leading to lower cost for the traveller and guaranteed revenue for the provider.
Such an approach - which is common among big procurement service providers and travel management companies - drove down costs for the customer and offered flexibility, said Corin McGrath, head of travel services at outsourcing provider Xchanging.
"Top of the agenda for outsourcing is saving money. People want to try to improve the service too, but ultimately it is about money," he said.
Many companies did not have enough influence to insist on bulk buying with providers, he added.
Ian Nurdin, business travel manager for Nestlé UK, said: "I am keen on the process of aggregation, if airlines are starting to accept it.
"If they are prepared to offer aggregated rates for flights to a third party, I'd be disappointed if they were not prepared to offer us the same sort of deal."