Independent Research & White Paper

Topaz Comparative Research Study

Topaz International conducts comparative research of corporate travel airfares between corporate travel agency booked itineraries and various Internet sites, including Orbitz, Expedia, Travelocity and airline websites. Results from 2006 show business travel itineraries booked by a designated corporate travel agency averaged $75 less than the same itinerary booked on a public Internet site, one of the largest margins since 2002. In addition, the average agency fare and average Internet fare were the highest they have been since 2002.

Further evaluations were conducted to determine if volumes of corporate airfare spend influenced the results. Smaller corporations generally have higher priced airline tickets compared to corporations with larger volumes of air spend. However, and very telling, some small corporations spend less per ticket than some of their larger counterparts who should have greater volume discounts.

“The five years of comparative airline purchasing patterns indicates that the online alternatives are not always cheaper, but in fact are higher than the past few years,” said Bradley Seitz, President and CEO of Topaz International.

“The game of distribution continues to be fragmented and a great cause for headaches all over the world. Full content is not full content, availability is not consistent, and as I have said in the past, the overriding desire of the airlines is to control and price their product where they can obtain the most value.”

“The complexity will continue. Airlines must raise their rates to compensate for recent losses in the industry and the continuing rise of fuel costs. The challenge of every corporate travel leader will be to ensure that they have processes in place to locate and book the lowest alternatives, and validate that their service providers are giving the levels of contracted offerings that have been agreed to.”

“What travel management companies have proven here is that they continue to show value to those that use them in both price and in service.”

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Topaz International provides strategic support to corporate travel management professionals. With over 25 years of experience analyzing travel expenditures, Topaz is a world leader in airfare & hotel auditing, and a member of the Association of Corporate Travel Executives (ACTE) and the National Business Travel Association (NBTA) 

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