I must confess, there is a wee bit of “Jay Sorensen the parent” in the latest report from IdeaWorksCompany. It’s often easy to blame teachers, society, and television for the sometimes less-than-perfect behavior of my children. It’s definitely more difficult to look inward and assess where I should improve as a parent. As children grow older, they too must take more responsibility for their choices. And so it goes with the sometimes bumpy relationship between airlines, corporate travelers, and travel management departments.
Over time, airlines will learn to better smooth how a la carte transactions are conducted with consumers. For example, airlines can become more consistent in how fees are described to credit card processors. This would enhance clarity and control for travel managers. But clearly, more work needs to be done by travel managers to control the behavior of travelers once they hit the road. There is abundant precedent for this; corporate travelers already demonstrate constraint when checking into hotels, buying meals, and renting cars.
Innkeepers, restaurateurs and rental companies make their living by encouraging travelers to spend more. Perhaps that’s the cause of this a la carte conflict with airlines . . . corporate travel departments are not yet prepared to manage the growing retail prowess of airlines. Not only are travelers tempted by expensive mini-bar goodies, they are now tempted by early boarding, exit row seating, and onboard snacks. Ancillary revenue is good news for the profit margins of airlines and a new challenge for their corporate clients.
Have a look at the full report here: It’s a Constant Challenge to Keep Corporate Travelers from the Candy Store of a la Carte Goodies