Our OBT/TMC Survey Results Are In!

KC-0316By Kim Castro, Senior Consultant

Our survey results are in and they are fascinating! We had a record number of respondents offer up some great insight to the challenges they face daily in their managed programs. While the survey offers much valuable information, we will focus here on the top three most critical points for consideration:

1) 2 out of 3 respondents have over 40% of online bookings touched by an agent

Conducting an analysis of the reason for an agent touch is a critical place to start. Is the increased transaction fee cost due to an agent touch because of a functional gap in the OBT? What can be changed either within the tool, with traveler behavior or the TMC process to decrease the number of agent touches resulting in higher cost?Are you incurring higher costs because of a non-optimized process? There are many examples of process improvement that are the result of a Six Sigma audit.

A few common examples found are:

  • Exchanges from an online booking tool rejected to an agent.
    • Several OBTs can calculate an exchange of a banked ticket on file. If this process is not automated, do you know where the gap is?
  • Missing critical profile data, such as TSA
  • Approval process hierarchy configurations causing approval issues

2) 2 out of 3 respondents say their online booking tool doesn’t have all the content neededMany OBTs are optimized over particular content channels. They certainly can deploy over various GDS’s but many features may be lost and full content may not be available.

Some examples:

  • Ancillary content and fare families can be booked on select OBT’s if deployed over specific GDS’s
  • Fully automated exchanges can be handled in an automated fashion including changes to post ticketing, utilization of banked ticket on file, including Southwest direct connect banked tickets.Your content source matters. Are you certain your OBT is deployed over the GDS that it is optimized for your managed program? Could you get better content and user features if the OBT was deployed over another GDS? What other options do you have available to you?All of these points are critical to consider and investigate if you have content concerns

3) Over half of our survey respondents say their OBT is not configured to give optimal resultsThe key to solving this dilemma is to first define what “optimal” means to each respective person that interacts with the tool. What unique needs does the travel manager have? How can the traveler experience be optimized? And what about the travel arranger and approver? By employing what is known as a Six Sigma “5 Why” approach we are able to develop a plan that ensures optimal performance for all involved.

Click here to view our full survey results infographic

Six Sigma “5 Why” and why should you care?

Employing this well known methodology within the Lean Six Sigma toolkit in the context of a managed travel program allows you to easily to drill down from higher-level symptoms to the underlying root cause(s) of a problem.

One of the most powerful examples of this method is the almost mythical example of a consultant who was engaged to employ a root cause study on why the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. was eroding:

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This example illustrates perfectly and powerfully how simple and less costly solutions can be derived from understanding true root cause. Often, we think a problem lies in area that is not at root, resulting in ongoing frustration, increasing cost and lack of progress.

Implementing the “5 Why” methodology to your managed travel program allows you to easily to drill down to the underlying cause(s) of issues. With increasing emphasis and importance placed on your online booking tool, taking the time to conduct a root cause analysis is well worth the investment.


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