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Price, flexibility and complex processes the main hurdles for group flight reservations

Azavista releases its survey and industry report “Group Flight Reservations: Trends, Challenges and Recommendations”

The airline industry should improve its procedures and processes for group reservations, reveals a survey conducted by Azavista, the first data driven group travel and event planning solution. Azavista interviewed 200 group travel managers and 20 major airline carriers in EMEA and the United States and identified the challenges that the travel industry faces in this sector. .

To contribute to a good economic climate, airlines should develop more flexible procedures for group reservations. According to the latest financial report from the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the global airline industry should make a high net profit of $19.7 billion in 2014, as passenger demand - groups and individuals - is expected to rise. While for individual bookings, reservations can be made in a matter of minutes, for group reservations matters are not that simple. A group booking could take days or even weeks.

Price is another sensitive matter for group travel planners. Over 80% of the interviewed travel planners said that finding a good price for groups is harder than for individual bookings. As such, the airline industry should offer more flexibility in cancellations, for instance. According to Azavista' s survey, 56% of the respondents stated that airlines should offer more flexibility in changes, as travel planners have to deal with last minute approvals.

The majority of the respondents described group flight reservations as expensive, inefficient, frustrating and time consuming. Almost 60% of respondents stated that group check-ins can be made more efficient with online group check-in systems. They also proposed group baggage check in or boarding passes printed in advance before the group arrives. Travel planners are more and more taking into consideration which airline is the easiest to work with and which can offer the best terms and conditions.

Furthermore, 80% of group travel managers say they would like a technology solution that can handle all aspects of group flight arrangements, such as sending RFPs, receiving offers, tracking terms and conditions and handling passenger details.

On the other hand, for airlines, conditions are strict because groups come with a level of uncertainty and this might cause drops in revenue for the airline industry. Therefore, airlines choose to reduce this element of uncertainty by setting conditions that will safe-guard them in possible cancellations. To facilitate a more efficient planning process, both parties should work together and find the best solutions to make all procedures run smoothly.

The results from the Azavista survey, “Group Flight Reservations: Trends, Challenges and Recommendations, March 2014” show that besides the apparent need for the industry to collaborate in order to ensure a smoother group planning process, technology can also play a vital role in facing these challenges.

Key findings of the survey:
80% of the respondents concluded that the reservation process for groups is more complex than for individual bookings
43% ranked price as one of the most important factors when making group flight reservations
88% of the travel planners requested longer option dates when making group flight reservations
56% of the respondents stated that airlines should offer more flexibility in ticket changes
80% of the travel planners would appreciate a technology solution that can handle all aspects of group flight arrangements

Currently, Azavista is developing the first online solution that will streamline the group flight reservation process. Currently, the company offers an advanced eRFP and supplier sourcing tool that allows planners to seamlessly manage group accommodation, meeting space, dining and ground transportation.

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