Monday, July 23, 2012


I was at an ITM meeting last week and one of the topics that came up was air fares or, more specifically, how buyers can and need to negotiate their way around them. We discussed how, before business travel buyers even attempt to start negotiations with airlines, they have to dig deeper to find out what makes up that fare. Some airlines, for instance, include ancillary fees and fuel surcharges in the fare. Others don’t.

Travel managers have to know what the ancillary fees are (seat allocation, baggage allowance, and so on) so they can unravel the real cost of the ticket. Only then, are they in a position to start negotiating with the airlines. And negotiate they must given that, at around half of the total travel budget, air represents the largest spending category in nearly all travel programmes.

CWT – the UK’s largest travel management company – understands this and agrees. This week, the company announced its new report, Mastering the Maze: a Practical Guide to Air and Ground Savings, which takes travel managers on a tour of savings opportunities in 20 different areas, including negotiating fuel surcharges and ancillary fees. Well worth downloading.

Being transparent when it comes to real cost and added costs is a win win situation between buyers and suppliers – it encourages loyalty among buyers and, by staying loyal, buyers will be better placed to achieve a volume discount. What’s not to like?

Posted by David Chapple, event director of the Business Travel Show. You can get in touch at or on Twitter @btshowlondon