It's reassuring to me to hear how many of our clients (new and old) have included an airfare audit in their current contract with their Travel Management Company (TMC). Many of the calls I receive these days include a discussion of the parameters of the airfare audit included in the contract, the budget of the audit and who is financially responsible. These are all important items to come to an agreement on prior to the contract being signed and will make it much cleaner when we are gathering audit data and setting up the audit guidelines. Here are some main items you should include in your contract:
- How often will your TMC be audited? You should not limit yourself - if you only do it for a month once a year, bad behaviors will prevail the other 11 months. Keep this open for as often as you like.
- How long with the audit last? Imagine saying in a contract it will last for one month - and then the awful results come back. Do you really want to wait another year before rechecking performance? Imagine the lost savings?
- Who is financially responsible for the audit? We have many clients that base payment on results - do well and the TMC does not have to pay - but do poorly and the TMC pays the tab.
- How many Passenger Name Records (PNRs) will be included in the audit and does it include domestic, international, specific countries or regions, etc.? It is always beneficial to audit all the records you can - it drives compliance and future process improvements.
- Does the audit include offline and online PNRs? With the increased usage of online tools, a comprehensive audit should include both your traditional travel reservations as well as those that are booked via an online tool.
- How much advance notice do you need to provide your TMC regarding the audit start date? We generally need at least thirty days - but many times we hear of longer wait times. Is this so they can review their current process and make it better? Be wary of long lead times to get things started.
The best part of having an airfare audit included in your TMC agreement is that you won't need to discuss whether or not you are having an audit performed as it will be included in your contract. This will provide you with peace of mind that either your transaction fees are being well spent or that you don't have the partnership with your TMC that you thought you did. Either way - it's a great investment.