We live in an unpredictable world. When it comes to the travel industry, anything from the eruption of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano in Iceland to the present day COVID-19 pandemic can result in mass turmoil.
In the business travel world, companies have been losing billions of dollars in unused tickets for years. An extra profit income for airlines, they typically refrain from sharing these figures with the public. As businesses struggle in our present-day economic climate, it is important to now to capitalize on all possible opportunities to restructure internal travel systems in favour of financial profitability.
Integrating unused ticket management into your organization’s business travel plan can remove the headache of continually tracking employee travel plans while simultaneously reducing unwarranted expenses.
A Growing Problem
Changes in itineraries, an employee leaving the company, flight delays, airline initiated cancellations or havoc caused by an unexpected global event, are some of the reasons that give way to airline tickets that remain unutilized, cutting into a company’s overall expenditure. Therefore, a non-refundable airline ticket that becomes a part of a company’s travel portfolio is what constitutes as “unused ticket.”
However, not all unused tickets result in loss of money. Depending on the airline’s terms and conditions, and with assistance from a smart business travel service, it is possible to recover part or even the ticket’s entire cost.
Refund vs. Airline Credit
In most cases, whenever an airline cancels a flight, they are required to refund the entire ticket, even if it is non-refundable.
But there are instances, especially when a traveler changes plans, that airlines give a credit note instead. The validity of airline credit varies but is usually between 10 to 12 months. An employee can use this amount to purchase any future ticket, not just on the initially booked route.
It’s also worth knowing that multiple airlines allow the re-use of non-refundable tickets at a fee. This extra cost labeled as “service charge” is a small price to pay through which you can utilize these tickets and recover what would have otherwise resulted in a loss.
Benefits of Unused Ticket Management
Knowing about different ways to manage unused tickets and implementing them are two different scenarios. Contacting airlines, being aware of modifications, and monitoring the overall status of unused tickets within the organization is both time-consuming and complicated. Employing a complete business travel solution can thus be beneficial as it helps you tackle unused tickets in the following ways;
When changes in tickets occur, airline credit is given in the name of the original ticket holder, your employee. Many times employees leave or end up using these credits for their personal use. By having clear and concise travel policies available via an all-in-one business travel solution, you can define the ownership of the credits, informing your employees that they belong to the company.
Having complete information about unused tickets in one place, under the watchful eye of the concerned department, further reduces the chance of anyone mistakenly using them for private purposes, increasing compliance amongst the workforce.
Keeping track of all unused tickets is a positive step towards making the most of their value. With growing business demands, it becomes a tedious task requiring time-consuming expense reviews and staying informed of varying airline policies.
A manageable way around this problem is using an option that does all the hard work for the company. A business travel management system such as SoldoutNight compiles your company’s unused tickets across departments in an understandable setup, making it available to you at all times, and via monthly email reminders.
Furthermore, by prioritizing airline credit termination dates, it simplifies the booking process for employees, who can use the soon to be expiring credits first, making sure they do not go waste.
An automated unused ticket management system also allows the employer to set guidelines for particular employees. They are then required to use credits in their name before making any “fresh” bookings.
If an airline refuses to refund any of your unused tickets, the next option is to get it from your travel insurance provider. By having the insurance, the management service can process a request and work towards quicker reimbursement from the insurance company on your behalf.
One significant benefit of choosing a travel management service, such as SoldoutNight, is that all your business travel information is readily available with different departments. In the rare case that a refund is not possible on an unused ticket, the details are automatically forwarded to the financial department, who can then work on getting a tax write-off for the same.
A Better Rapport
SoldoutNight works with airlines daily for their customers, talking to operators, forming lasting business relationships. Therefore, when the time comes, they have a strong rapport with the airlines and have a better chance of requesting refunds and credits. Airlines might also be less forthcoming when dealing with individuals who are not part of the travel industry.
Most companies are presently cash strapped. For companies with high business travel volume, to overlook slowly rising expenses such as unused tickets can prove extremely detrimental in the long run. Therefore, having a well-planned unused ticket management system as part of the company’s business travel setup helps everyone concerned, leading to better supervision as well as time and cost savings.