Headlines in travel industry publications tell the story: “Buyers Grapple with Cascade of Unused Air Tickets” (Business Travel News). “Unused Airline Tickets are Driving Corporate Travel Agencies Crazy Right Now” (Skift). Even with relaxed airline policies, tickets gone unused due to travel upended by COVID-19 can eventually become lost in the chaos and cost travel programs thousands of dollars.
In the early days of COVID-19, Connie Pronschinske, travel manager at Ashley Furniture, and her team of five agents were feeling the pain related to getting value out of unused tickets for their more than 1,000 frequent travelers. “Our team could spend 45 minutes researching online or waiting on hold with airlines just to find out if the flight qualified for a waiver,” said Pronschinske.
Fox developed a custom airline waiver table that pairs with its best-in-class ticket tracking platform to automate the application of unused tickets for those utilizing an online booking tool. The table automatically matches bookings with the appropriate waivers, eliminating the need to use an Ashley agent to check on waiver availability.
Pronschinske, who has more than 20 years of travel industry experience and is the creator of Ashley Furniture’s travel program, said this award-winning technology has saved agent time and removed the risk of having debit memos issued.
“Once Fox put the technology in place, it really benefited our agents,” said Pronschinske. “They no longer had to spend their time researching and contacting the airlines because our travelers had the information they needed through the technology that Fox World Travel developed.”
Fox’s tackling unused ticket burdens for their customers earned them a 2020 Travel Weekly Magellan Gold Award for innovation. “After assessing the magnitude of the financial burden unused tickets could have on our clients, we had to find a way to help them not only quantify their risk, but create processes that would mitigate that risk,” said Jared Bachman, Fox Director of Travel Technology.
As the No. 1 furniture manufacturer in the world, Pronschinske said Ashley staff travel has continued to increase every week for the last few months and having the ability to easily utilize unused tickets has been a huge benefit.
“Instead of digging for waiver information,” she said, “our agents can spend time assisting our travelers in this new world of COVID-19 travel.”
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