“CouldYou” a Clever Innovation from a TMC

Short’s Travel, a mid-west, mid-tier travel management company, proves that TMCs can indeed innovate.

The problem: Travelers first set meeting dates, then find itineraries to fit the meeting.  Short’s noticed that the airfares were often lower on near-by dates for the exact same flights, e.g. the 8 a.m. departure on DL from Atlanta, returning the next day at 6 p.m.

(Click on the image for a better view)

The solution: After a traveler books a flight itinerary, but before ticketing it, Short’s immediately applies “CouldYou” to the job of searching fares for the identical flights on nearby dates.

“CouldYou” sends the results to the traveler, with the alternative dates sorted by savings, as well as in a handy calendar.

The result?  Travelers can then ask whoever they are meeting with “Could you move our meeting to this date, or to this date?”

“CouldYou” gives travelers the best of both worlds.  A bookable itinerary, as well as alternative dates for the same flight times that produce savings.  Brilliant.

David LeCompte, Short’s Travel’s president, came up with the idea and had it developed in-house.  It is integrated with Short’s self-booking tool, but will also work with many other forms of flight reservations.

“It doesn’t always work for trips related to training and larger events”, says David.  “But we’re surprised at how often travelers can change their dates, and how much they save.”

And I’m surprised at what a good idea this is, and that it hasn’t been done by a larger TMC.  Great work, Short’s!

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9 Responses to “CouldYou” a Clever Innovation from a TMC

  1. Steve Baker says:

    Great idea and it looks well executed. I train agents to give alternate times and dates, and the assumption was business travelers had more or less set schedules. But having an agent ask if dates/times were flexible is different than presenting a calendar style matrix of options. Won’t work for all types of business travelers but can certainly be a great tool. When will Short Travel license the application to other TMC’s? Well done.

    • For our agents we have an application on the agents desktop that will run FindIt with the flights that the agent has chosen. Then the agent can read off the options to the client and/or the application can generate an email with the calendar of savings to the traveler. We are experimenting with this agent process now, we think CouldYou (which is 100% hands off for the agent) will generate greater adoption by the traveler.

  2. Karoline Mayr says:

    Love this idea. What booking tool is being used? Reardon?

    • Scott Gillespie says:

      Hi Karoline,

      “Could You” is integrated with Short’s own self booking tool, STO (for Short’s Travel Online). They built this booking tool in the last year or two, as I recall.

      Hopefully David will expand here on the possibility of getting “Could You” in place with other SBTs and TMCs…but I could understand if Short’s wants to keep this as a competitive differentiator.

  3. Scott, thanks for noticing CouldYou and blogging about it! We have other innovative items in the works, and some that are already launched. Our goal is to be the “innovation TMC/ITMC”, so when you think of Short’s you think of innovation.

    CouldYou actually is independent of a booking tool (although its genesis was FindIt which was within our own online booking tool, STO. FindIt gives identical results as CouldYou, but the traveler had to click our FindIt button.) We have talked with BookingBuilder and other agencies about providing this savings tool to them and their clients, as well as implementing for our clients. 56% of the time we are finding an average maximum savings of $126!! That is pretty substantial opportunity for savings. Could you change your travel date to save that? That is the question…

    You can view STO (and FindIt) at http://www.shortstravel.com/sto, just click “new user”. If you are a travel manager and your company wants to try it out, we can get you onboard in 24 hours (with policy)!

    David LeCompte
    303-800-6797 or
    david@shortstravel.com

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  5. Paul Tilstone says:

    A great innovation indeed. I once saw a beta tool which did the same for confirming teleconference dates. it allowed people to input dates and times over each other to find the common points, but it would have worked better connected to outlook so the meeting could simply be booked. this takes it one stage further by linking it to cheaper flights. Nice job!

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  7. Pingback: Short’s Book It: A Brilliant Booking Breakthrough | Gillespie's Guide to Travel+Procurement

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