Prepare yourself, as this email will contain material that is a sensitive subject. This is one that might upset a few people out there - but I think it is truthful. Further, in the spirit of open dialogue, anyone is free to respond to me - and should I have enough compelling counter arguments I will be happy to revise this list in a future email. That only seems fair. It is like a respectful presidential election - oh wait, we do not have that here in the U.S.
a) Future Decisions are made only by the Final Report - Often final reports are forwarded to senior leaders showing the results of an audit. But does that show the true picture of all the findings? The process of an audit includes many steps and processes that all enhance the travel program - and sometimes even before or during an audit we find things that are corrected, but are not reflected in the audit report. So starting today we will identify items uncovered and disclosed during the implementation process on our report cover letters. This will eliminate senior manager making a decision for future audits only based on the final report - and will help travel buyers to create a better program.
b) Automated Pricing Formats and Processes always work - Fat Chance. They do not - we regularly find alternative airfares that are not found by the pricing formats used in the GDS's by the TMCs. And we are not always talking about alternative flights, but the exact same flights that are offered by the TMC as well. It pays to check - regularly - to make sure things are working. Because once we find these things out, many times a TMC adjusts mid audit to improve their results. You can thank a Topaz Auditor for finding something that does not work - and for saving your program lots of unnecessary expense.
c) Airline discounts are not being calculated properly - Back in the old days (I have now aged myself) airline discounts were loaded by the TMC. There were a lot of checks to make sure these discounts worked correctly. Today, they are loaded by the airlines themselves, and....SURPRISE....they do not always work correctly! That is another benefit of our audit - we find these errors early in our audit process so they can be corrected and future errors avoided. So just like automation tools that do not always work, imagine the savings a Topaz audit can find from airline program discounts that do not work?
d) We correct processes before the audit even starts - For those of you that have conducted an audit, you will be all too familiar with the implementation call. Sometimes dreaded, this is the call we have to make sure we are all on the same page and understand the policy and procedures. You would be amazed at how many times we find the TMC is not doing what is expected of the client. During these discussions we clarify and ensure that everyone is in agreement on policy. If we did not have these calls, imagine the number of errors we would find!
e) The International Rate Desk is cost prohibitive or going away all together - The reality is that international airfares are as complex as ever. So what does that mean for your program? Usually higher airfares because there are no checks and balances. You can trust Topaz to identify any lower fares that your travel counselors may have missed due to the complexity of the routing, and we can do it for a lot less. This also encourages improvement by the International travel counselors on the front line at the TMC to get better and learn more about the booking processes.
f) We find changes in pricing long before anyone else does - Regular audits allow us to maintain a good travel program for you and your company. We constantly monitor and make sure that any changes made by the airlines in the marketplace are integrated into our processes, and when errors are found we report them back to your TMC so they can take action and change their process as well. Nothing is staying the same and using us on a regular basis helps create a world class travel program.
We think we are sometimes undervalued when you consider the benefits to your program - and we need to shout out more about why you should make us a regular part of your program. Like a good bid process, or hotel program management process, we ensure your air and other travel services are purchased at the best possible price using the most efficient process possible. Call us today so we can make a difference for you, your program, your travelers and your corporation.