Event and booking agency Capita Travel and Events has likened a perceived growth in the popularity of low cost carriers (LCCs) among its customers to that of the surge in demand for budget hotel groups over the last decade.
Capita Travel and Events is the name for the enlarged business travel portfolio, incorporating Capita Business Travel, BSI, Expotel and Venues Event Management.
The agency claims it has helped drive a 31 per cent year-on-year growth in its customers’ low cost carrier tickets sales by encouraging them to consider cheaper options in travel policies.
Corrie Long, Air Product Manager, Capita Travel and Events, said: “Low cost carriers have become increasingly acceptable as part of business travel planning for our customers as we continue to help customers create stronger policy controls around the use of ‘lowest logical fares’. The price dynamics and flight scheduling convenience are factors in their popularity, as is our sourcing strategy because we aren’t totally reliant on any single source for our air fares.”
Capita identifies synergies in the trend towards clients moving more towards LCCs and the agency’s move to set up direct connections between agency online booking tools and budget hotels’ reservations systems*.
Corrie added: “We are aiding low cost carrier innovation in the business travel market by encouraging customers and carriers to have an open-minded view about what can be offered and accepted in terms of route deals and discounts on ancillary partners. Greater flexibility on the part of airlines will lead to a continued increase in the popularity of the low cost carriers and the industry has already witnessed traditional scheduled airlines thinking differently and changing their propositions to follow suit on the unbundling of fares and ancillary costs.”
Capita’s observations on the market trend follow from a 2012 deal by Expotel (now part of Capita Travel and Events), with Easyjet, on behalf of Scottish Procurement, to provide discounted flexible fares between Scotland and London.
A further agreement was reached with Southern Railway to provide Scottish public sector travellers with a discount on Gatwick Express..
*In 2005, BSI, part of Capita travel and events, claims it became the first specialist hotel booking agency to introduce a ‘direct connect’ between its own reservation system and that of budget hotel group, Premier Inn, then known as Premier Travel Inn. The technology allowed agents and online booking tool customers to book rooms immediately, previously impossible as the hotel group’s rooms were not available via the industry’s traditional ‘Global Distributions Systems’.
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