Corporate Travel Managers

COMMUNICATIONS TOOLKIT

Please find draft communications below that can be copied, pasted and modified:

1 - memo to corporate senior management explaining the travel department's involvement

2 - note to a company's travelers explaining how to get involved

3 - message to a travel department's TMC urging its leadership in this campaign

4 - letter to local and national travel and purchasing associations counseling engagement

5 - email to managed travel colleagues encouraging their involvement

6 - social media alert to family and friends requesting support

7 - press release

8 - newsletter


1. SENIOR MANAGEMENT MEMO

To:        [senior management]

From:    [travel manager]

Date:     [          ]

Subject: Restoring Air Travel Comparison Shopping

I want to bring to your attention an initiative being organized by Business Travel Coalition that [company’s] travel department will be participating in. This is an official White House “WE the PEOPLE” petition. We are asking that true air travel comparison-shopping be restored for customers through an early 2013 U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM).

Since 2008, most U.S. airlines have been charging for so-called ancillary services, such as for accessing premium seating, and have been hiding associated fees by withholding information from travel management companies (TMCs). As such, travel agents and travelers cannot efficiently compare the prices of alternatives and must visit numerous airline websites. Major corporate customers have been demanding this fee information from airlines without success for 5 years.

These hidden fees represent a confusing and deceptive marketing practice that is costing corporate customers money. Consequences of this refusal to share fee information include:

  • inflated prices because fees cannot be effectively comparison shopped and therefore are undisciplined by market forces;


  • costly workaround processes for TMCs and corporate travel departments required to find, purchase, track and audit these ancillary services; and


  • higher average-paid airfares due to a lack of total spend data and reduced leverage during airline negotiations.


Clearly the market is not working well when airlines' best customers' demands are consistently dismissed. However, a potential solution is the DOT NPRM. We have been advocating that DOT require airlines to provide fee information to sales channels where they choose to offer base fares so customers can efficiently see, compare and buy the complete air travel product. However, we do not know how strongly DOT will write the proposed rule.

Once a petition is published on WhiteHouse.gov organizers have 30 days to secure 25,000 signatures. If that threshold is reached, then the White House commits to formally reviewing the petitioners’ issue and providing a public response. Our deadline is December 25.

Importantly, the NPRM will soon be transmitted to the White House Office of Management and Budget for its due diligence and guidance back to DOT. Having the White House more aware of the financial harm to corporate customers from hidden airline fees and having them encourage a robust DOT rulemaking would be very useful.   

We intend to provide our travelers with an opportunity to sign the petition and influence a public policy issue that impacts them personally as well as their families when they are traveling on vacation. The initiative is being organized at http://www.businesstravelcoalition.com/whitehouse.html.

Please let me know if you require any further information. 


2. NOTE TO COMPANY TRAVELERS

To:     Corporate Travelers

From: Travel Department

Since 2008, most U.S. airlines have been charging for so-called ancillary services such as for accessing premium seating. These carriers have also been hiding associated fees by withholding information from travel management companies, including ours, such that travel agents and travelers cannot efficiently compare the prices of alternatives and must visit numerous airline websites. Airlines have for 5 years refused corporate customers’ requests for this fee information, as apparently there is significant profit in consumer confusion.

[Company’s] travel department is now participating with other concerned corporations in a White House “WE the PEOPLE” petition wherein we are asking that true air travel comparison-shopping be restored for customers through what is called a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) scheduled to be published by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) in early 2013.

These hidden fees represent a confusing and deceptive marketing practice that is costing our company money and negatively impacting our travelers personally as well as their families when budgeting for and traveling on vacation. We want to provide you with the opportunity to sign the petition and influence a public policy issue of importance to us all.  

You can review the text and sign the petition through http://www.businesstravelcoalition.com/whitehouse.html. I encourage you to do so and to also share the initiative with family and friends through the social media tools on the website. The deadline for participation is December 25.

Please let me know if you have any questions.


3. MESSAGE TO TMCS

[date]

Dear [TMC President],

It's going on 5 years since major U.S. airlines began to aggressively unbundle their products and offer a growing variety of ancillary services and associated fees. The continued refusal of airlines to provide fee information to TMCs and corporate travel departments, despite our demands for it, illustrates a failing market that is undermining our collective investments in modern managed-travel programs.

If you are not already aware and involved, Business Travel Coalition has organized a White House-sponsored “WE the PEOPLE” petition-campaign                                                                                                                                           wherein we are asking that true air travel comparison-shopping be restored for customers through an early 2013 U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM).

Now that our petition is published on WhiteHouse.gov, our coalition of TMC Presidents and Corporate Travel Managers has 30 days to secure 25,000 signatures. If that threshold is reached, then the White House commits to formally reviewing our request and providing a public response. Our deadline for signatures is December 25.

Importantly, the DOT NPRM will soon be transmitted to the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for its due diligence and guidance back to DOT. Having the White House more aware of the financial harm to corporate customers from hidden airline fees and having them encourage a strong DOT rulemaking would be very useful.  

The time has come for the managed-travel community to stand up and exert influence on a public policy issue that is critically important to it. The initiative is being organized at http://www.businesstravelcoalition.com/whitehouse.html, where you will find much more information, including a TMC Communications Toolkit.

BTC has provided excellent tools and a powerful platform from which to project our concerns and elevate public-policy discourse regarding the problem of hidden airline fees. It's important for TMCs to recognize the severe risk associated with fragmentation, operational disruption, client frustration and added costs caused by a passive managed-travel community endorsement of airlines’ positions on ancillary fees. 

As our frontline advocate, I hope and trust that you will take a leadership role on behalf of [my company] in this White House petition-campaign and communicate to all your clients the critical need for their participation as well.

After you have reviewed our platform, I would be more than eager to discuss your advocacy plans around this time-sensitive opportunity. I look forward to hearing from you!

Kind regards,

[travel manager]


4. LETTER TO ASSOCIATIONS (local & national travel and procurement organizations)

[date]

Dear [association official],

It's going on 5 years since major U.S. airlines began to aggressively unbundle their products and offer a growing variety of ancillary services and associated fees. The continued refusal of airlines to provide fee information for corporate travel departments, despite our demands for it, illustrates a failing market that is undermining our managed-travel and procurement programs. We urgently require your leadership.

If you are not already aware and involved, a broad coalition of airline consumers, consumer groups, travel management companies, travel agencies, corporate travel departments and travel industry associations has petitioned the White House in an official “WE the PEOPLE” petition. We are requesting that true air travel comparison-shopping be restored for consumers through an anticipated early 2013 U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM).

Now that our petition is published on WhiteHouse.gov, our coalition has until December 25 to secure 25,000 signatures. If that threshold is reached, then the White House is committed to formally reviewing our request and providing a public response.

Importantly, the DOT NPRM will soon be transmitted to the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for its due diligence and guidance back to DOT. Having the White House more aware of the financial harm to corporate customers from hidden airline fees and having them encourage a strong DOT rulemaking would be very useful.  

The time has come for the managed-travel and procurement communities to stand up and exert influence on a public policy issue that is critically important. The initiative is being organized at http://www.businesstravelcoalition.com/whitehouse.html where you will find much more information, including an Association Communications Toolkit.

Our coalition has developed excellent tools and a powerful platform from which to project our concerns and elevate public-policy discourse regarding the problem of hidden airline fees. It's important for travel and procurement associations to recognize the severe risk associated with fragmentation, operational disruption, client frustration and added costs caused by a passive managed-travel community endorsement of airlines’ positions on ancillary fees. 

As our industry advocate, I hope and trust that you will take a leadership role on behalf of [my company] in this White House petition-campaign and communicate to all your members the critical need for their participation as well.

I would be more than eager to discuss your advocacy plans around this time-sensitive opportunity. I look forward to hearing from you!

Kind regards,

[travel manager / procurement manager]


5. MESSAGE TO COLLEAGUES

[date]

Dear Travel Industry Colleagues,

The time has come for the managed-travel community to act on airline ancillary fees policies!

It's now going on 5 years since major U.S. airlines began to aggressively unbundle their products and offer a growing variety of ancillary services and associated fees. By refusing to provide fee information to their most valuable customers, despite our demands for it, airlines are undermining our travel programs, driving our costs up and illustrating that the market for commercial airline services is failing.

If you are not aware, Business Travel Coalition has organized a White House-sponsored “WE the PEOPLE” petition-campaign.                                                                                                               We are asking that true air travel comparison-shopping be restored for customers through an anticipated early 2013 U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM).

This public-policy initiative is being organized and advanced at http://www.businesstravelcoalition.com/whitehouse.html where you will find much more information, including Communications Toolkits for TMCs and Corporate Travel Managers.

Now that our petition is published on WhiteHouse.gov, our broad coalition of managed travel participants has a deadline of December 25 to secure 25,000 signatures. If that threshold is reached, then the White House commits to formally reviewing our request and providing a public response.

Importantly, the DOT NPRM will soon be transmitted to the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for its due diligence and guidance back to DOT. Having the White House more aware of the financial harm to corporate customers from hidden airline fees, and having them encourage a strong DOT rulemaking, would be very useful. 

The time has come for the managed-travel community to stand up and exert its latent influence on a public policy issue that is critically important to it.

I urge you to visit the BTC website and get involved in this very important campaign.

Kind regards,

[travel manager]


6. SOCIAL MEDIA ALERT TO FAMILY & FRIENDS

To secure 25,000 signatures by December 25 will require a considerable effort. Please consider using social media to spread the word about this campaign. A 140-character message like the one suggested below to all your contacts would be very helpful.

Just signed White House petition for full disclosure of airline fees; please consider doing so too! http://bit.ly/ZPE3Uk #HiddenAirlineFees








7. PRESS RELEASE

For Immediate Release

  

[organization] JOINS WHITE HOUSE “WE THE PEOPLE” CAMPAIGN 

Urges Strong U.S. DOT Airline Ancillary Fee Rule

[date], [city], [state] – [organization] today joined forces with a broad coalition of airline consumers, consumer groups, travel management companies, travel agencies, corporate travel departments and travel industry associations in a White House-sponsored “WE the PEOPLE” petition. We are requesting that true air travel comparison-shopping be restored for consumers through an early 2013 U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM).

Since 2008, most U.S. airlines have been charging for so-called ancillary services, such as for accessing premium seating, and have been hiding associated fees by withholding fee information from travel agencies. As such, agents and travelers cannot efficiently compare “all-in” prices (base fares and fees) of air travel alternatives and must search numerous airline websites to identify the fees and pay separately for the services. These hidden fees represent a confusing and deceptive marketing practice that is costing all air travel consumers dearly.

In its petition to the White House the coalition points out that, despite demands from consumers and the travel industry for fee information, airlines have been able to withhold this information for 5 years, which is vivid evidence of a failing market. The coalition also noted that when Congress deregulated this market, consumer protections were consolidated at DOT leaving travelers with no legal recourse under state consumer-protection laws. DOT must require airlines to provide fee information to sales channels where they offer base fares so consumers can see, compare and buy the complete air travel product.

[“Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Vestibulum bibendum, ligula ut feugiat rutrum, mauris libero ultricies nulla, at hendrerit lectus dui bibendum metus. Phasellus quis nulla nec mauris sollicitudin ornare,” stated [NAME], [TITLE], [ORGANIZATION]. “Vivamus faucibus. Class aptent taciti sociosqu ad litora torquent per conubia nostra, per inceptos hymenaeos,” added [NAME].]

The coalition has until December 25 to secure 25,000 signatures. If successful, then the White House commits to formally reviewing this request and providing a public response. The petition can be reviewed and signed at http://wh.gov/IXhH. More information is available at http://www.businesstravelcoalition.com/whitehouse.html.

###

About [organization]
 

Contact [organization]
[name] [telephone number] [ email address]


8. NEWSLETTER

392 Words

Dear Reader,

As you are no doubt aware, for the past few years most major U.S. airlines have begun charging separately for a variety of services like checked bags that used to be included in the price of a ticket. While the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has taken some important steps to increase the transparency of these fees on airline websites, much more needs to be done. Some 50 percent of consumers use travel agencies and 95 percent of corporate travelers use travel management companies (TMCs) and online booking tools.

Today, if you call your travel agency, use an online travel company or seek assistance from your TMC, efficient comparison shop among competing airline offers and the purchasing of a complete trip is not possible. You or your travel agent must go to multiple airline websites to  search for service fees and pay for them separately. This maddening process exists because airlines refuse to provide the travel agency sales channel with fee information that enables side-by-side comparison-shopping and purchasing. As we know all too well, there is great profit in consumer confusion!

There is reason for hope though! [Organization] has joined forces with a broad coalition of travel industry and consumer groups in a White House-sponsored “WE the PEOPLE” petition-campaign. We are requesting that true air travel comparison-shopping be restored through an anticipated early 2013 DOT Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) so that consumers can see, compare and buy the complete air travel package in one place without having to search through a variety of airline websites. However, we do not know how strongly DOT will write the proposed rule.

Importantly, the NPRM will soon be transmitted to the White House Office of Management and Budget for its due diligence and guidance back to DOT. Having the White House more aware of the financial harm to consumers from hidden airline fees and having them encourage a robust DOT rulemaking would be very useful.   

We have until December 25, 2012 to secure 25,000 signatures. If we succeed, then the White House is committed to formally reviewing this request and providing a public response.  

You can review the text and sign the petition through http://www.businesstravelcoalition.com/whitehouse.html. I hope you will do so and likewise share the petition initiative with family and friends through the social media tools on the website.

©2001 to 2014 Business Travel Coalition, Inc.