Today is a very special day for all of us at Southwest as we reached a milestone. This morning, we announced that Southwest is now taking booking through industry-standard business travel bookings systems. We joined forces with Travelport as our launch partner to bring our everyday low fares with Airlines Reporting Corporation (ARC) ticketing and settlement to its Global Distribution Systems (GDS).
Simply put, this allows for Corporate Travel Managers, Travel Management Companies, and business travel decision-makers to conveniently book and modify reservations, as well as better manage their organization's travel with just a few clicks. As you know, we pride ourselves on owning the entire Customer journey. This process has proved incredibly successful in our nearly 50-year history. However, for managed business travel, we’ve seen this become cumbersome and prevent some companies from choosing us over our competitors.
This is just another step forward in our journey to build the best business travel-focused Team in the industry. Later this year, we’ll add similar capabilities to Amadeus’ GDS’.
As you might recall, last year we announced a major investment in our Team, which included investing in these industry-standard processes, adding more account managers to work with more organizations across the nation, standing up a new Travel Management Company Relations Team, and re-branding our Team as Southwest Business. I’m proud to report that we are making waves in the industry and people are taking notice.
While we are all working through the impacts of COVID-19, please know that all of us at Southwest and Southwest Business are thinking of you. While we don’t know when things will resume, we’re ready to work with you to help manage your return to whatever the new normal will look like.
To learn more about how we can help you and your organization manage travel, please visit Southwest.com/AboutBusiness.
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As we all know, the COVID-19 pandemic has had unprecedented impact to the airline industry. Before the virus started showing its grasps on the U.S. economy, we began seeing business travel begin to decline. Today, it is virtually non-existent minus those who are essential travelers. While most of us are at home and doing our part to “flatten the curve,” we’re working together to make sure we have a robust plan to welcome travelers back to the sky once it’s safe to start traveling again. This week Southwest’s President Tom Nealon spoke with the Global Business Travel Association about the current state of the airline industry, and the work we are doing right now to make it easier for business travelers to get back to work once travel restrictions are eased.
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Today is one of the most exciting days in my professional career, and as Vice President of Southwest Business. Earlier today, we announced a major evolution that’ll prepare our Corporate Sales Team for the future as we officially begin a new era as Southwest Business! Much of the changes outlined below are a result of listening to you, our valued Customers. You’ve told us a lot about hurdles that prevent many of you from doing business with us and we’re here to tell you that we’re removing them! We ultimately want to take the work out of work travel.
Southwest Business, the Team formerly known as Corporate Travel, is focused on bringing a new suite of services and travel solutions to Corporate Travel Managers, their travel management companies (TMCs), and business travelers across the United States and showcasing how Southwest can help them grow their business while managing travel expenses. It’s taken a big village to get to today’s announcement and I couldn’t be more proud of our growing Team. I invite you to take a look at our new website, Southwest.com/AboutBusiness which highlights where we’ve been and where we expect to go.
Here’s a quick look at some of the changes we’re introducing in the coming months:
The Booking Channel of Your Choice
As Southwest Business evolves, the carrier announced today a new agreement to bring industry-standard processes through the Travelport and Amadeus GDS channels including allowing corporate travel managers the ability to book, change, cancel, and modify reservations. The carrier anticipates the new functionality to be ready for bookings by mid-2020. By increasing the carrier’s participation within these channels, more travelers will have access to the airlines’ fares and flight schedules. Southwest is also partnering with ARC to implement industry-standard processes to handle the reporting and settlement of tickets booked through the GDS’.
We’ve also expanded our partnership with ATPCO and SITA to including an API via NDC Exchange, offering Southwest content via a dedicated direct connect channel. Through this channel, we’ll now be able to offer our award-winning Hospitality to more business travelers.
And, you might have noticed several new upgrades to SWABIZ®. Our Team has put a lot of thought and resources into this channel to make it what it is today and offer products and solutions that you’ve been asking about.
So, what does this mean to you? It’s all about being in the booking channel of your choice.
Southwest Business is designed around taking the work out of work travel and making it easier to do business with us. Throughout the past two years, we’ve been laying the foundation for today’s announcement and continued growth within the organization. More account managers, a new Business to Business Partner desk (for qualified accounts), and a TMC Relations Team to support your agency needs highlight the emphasis we are putting on making it easier for business travelers to choose Southwest for their business travel needs.
Let us know if we can help you with your managed travel program. Simply visit Southwest.com/AboutBusiness to get started.
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