We should know by now that fraud happens in travel programs. Most common, is expense report fraud, as it relates to what is expensed by travelers. Expense reports not reviewed in detail by the approving manager results in millions of dollars of fraudulent charges to companies each year. I have seen them. Things like new shoes, pet manicures, and $2,000 bottles of wine all expensed against acceptable travel policies.
Then there is fraud by your travel management company. Now, before I get yelled at, not all TMC's do this - just like not all employees input fraudulent expenses. But there are a few bad eggs out there.
A few years ago, there were some US Government employees that wanted to sue a TMC for overcharging them for tickets. They were convinced that something was not right - however, we were not able to help because we could not determine the availability of a lower airfare at the time of booking. Was it happening? We have no idea since no one was keeping an eye on things.
Now, why would a TMC even want to book a higher priced ticket? Even though the days of commissions are gone, the days of overrides, marketing agreements, market share agreements, and other deceptively worded programs still exist today. These are incentives provided by the airlines to the TMC for booking higher priced tickets or moving market share.
This was self-evident during my days working for a global TMC. During those days I had one client, and they had an agreement with JAL for Asia flights for their employees. However, my employer, had an agreement with ANA. What was I to do? I chose my client, and booked flights on JAL. What happened to me? I was fired.
And most recently, in the Netherlands, where it appears as if there may have been some issues against the government and their travel management company. Amon Cohen wrote a comprehensive article here:
In the end what does it all mean for you? Are you being taken advantage of and what can you do about it? That is where we come into play - we can help you make sure you are not being taken advantage of by conducting regular audits of your travel program - and just the peace of mind that you know and your travelers know things are working just fine adds true value to your program.
Oh, and if you are one of those ethical TMC's that do the right thing all the time, well, we just add instant value against all those others that do not!