Fox World Travel has become the first travel management
company to adopt travel data aggregator Traxo’s tool for capturing off-channel
booking data, the companies announced Wednesday. Fox has made Traxo’s service
available to clients, effective immediately.
The move will allow Fox clients access to travel spending
data for itineraries booked outside the TMC, according to the companies. Traxo
interfaces with corporate mail servers to identify email travel confirmations,
then collates included data without requiring the traveler to forward the
Traxo founder and CEO Andres Fabris told BTN that other TMCs
had used Traxo’s email parsing engine in the past to draw itinerary details
from emails forwarded by travelers. “Functionally that works great if [the
email] arrives,” he said. “The issue is around adoption. Our numbers
show less than 20 percent will take the extra step.”
Fox is the first TMC to use Traxo’s new “Traxo for
TMCs” offering, and according to Fabris, the technology company has several more agreements in the
pipeline, including a large TMC.
“The cost of having a data gap is unacceptably high. Companies
can’t afford not to know where their travelers are,” said Fabris about the Covid-era business travel environment. As a result, he said,
more TMCs are acknowledging that off-channel bookings are inevitable, and with heightened duty-of-care demands from clients, they are looking for solutions. “TMCs like the filter,” he added. “They
like it better because it takes a measurement of activity without implying that
booking off channel is OK.”
Corporates have hesitated in the past to engage off-channel data
capture for the same reasons: Implementing an alternative process that included
any traveler involvement could give an impression that booking off channel is acceptable.
With capture happening behind the scenes in the Traxo solution, Fabris said process
should no longer be a stumbling block.
“Companies can use this tool to police off-channel
bookings or they can choose to open up the program. Traxo is agnostic about that.
What we do know is that you shouldn’t have data gaps,” he said.
Traxo for TMCs will come in two configurations. One
is a referral model, which is the model adopted by Fox
World Travel. In that program, the corporate engages with Traxo to install the
tool. When that is done, Traxo “instantly” makes available to the TMC
“via online reporting tools and API integration” the off-channel
booking data it captures. The TMC then can consolidate that data and support
the traveler with its own services according to Traxo. A reseller model also will be available, wherein the entire relationship is managed
through the TMC.
Either way, said Fabris, gaining access to off-channel
bookings opens up the horizon for TMCs and for corporates looking for more control
over their programs.
“A lot of nice benefits come from having the data,”
said Fabris. “Mobility, data lakes and analytics, traveler profiles… that’s
in addition to the duty-of-care piece. Then you can start to enable potential
shifts in the business model, including whether to provide service and support for
off-channel bookings. I think that’s where the industry is going.”
Fox World Travel is now in the position to make those
decisions. The Oshkosh, Wis.-based agency claims
$520 million in 2019 sales and last year introduced Cognition, a
data platform for clients into which data from Traxo will be integrated.
“Complete visibility into every traveler’s business
trip itinerary data is a luxury many travel managers have long desired,” Fox
World Travel CEO Chip Juedes said in a statement. “Now, in a more
safety-conscious and risk-sensitive environment, our clients will have the
insight and thus the ability to support all their travelers through enhanced
duty-of-care initiatives. Full visibility is not simply a luxury as it once
was; it’s an essential need in today’s business travel landscape.”
Traxo in late 2019 secured an undisclosed
equity investment from the Airlines Reporting Corp.; the aggregator’s board
members include ARC COO and EVP Lauri Reishus and former Sabre chairman and CEO