Moving With The Times – Keeping Your Tech Company Relevant

An Interview With A CEO and Entrepreneur

 

 

Before we get to my interview with Cornerstone CEO, Mat Orrego, ask yourself a Big Question: “How do you keep your tech company relevant in today’s world of constantly evolving technological progress?”

 

As you answer this question, don’t just give yourself your elevator speech about what your company is and what it does. Really sit down with the question and consider what efforts your company has made to truly keep forward facing in the modern world. Have you made use of new technology as it comes along? Is your business model flexible enough to adapt to change? Have you been able to avoid or retire the technical debt that plagues other tech companies?

 

Obviously, if you are working in a growing business – whatever you are doing is succeeding! But it’s important to really dig in to the “whys” and the “hows” of this momentum and relevance that your company has. The biggest goal is to keep that momentum going, and you can’t do that without a few moments here and there of some serious introspection.

 

Keeping all of that in mind, let’s see what Cornerstone’s CEO and Founder has to say about the subject:

  

Cornerstone and Data Automation Before The Internet

Cornerstone Information Systems was founded in 1992 “out of necessity,” says founder and CEO Mat Orrego. Orrego had worked for a travel agency before, and was on the team to help implement their first data automation protocols. He saw great potential for the project, and left once it was implemented to build his own solution for sale to other travel companies.

 

Now if you remember, 1992 was a year before AOL started mass distribution of their “free trials CDs”, so this was well before many places had their own internet connections. In fact, according to Orrego, this was even before many companies had access to their own computers. How did Cornerstone overcome this obstacle to sell their software?

 

“We used to sell our software with a computer since people couldn’t run [our product] without one”, Orrego explained. “We would buy Gateway and Dell computers – we had these things everywhere in the office – and we would copy our software on to these computers to sell [to travel companies]”.

 

And how did these computers connect to the airline Global Distribution Systems (GDSs) before their owners had internet?

 

“The GDS’s would provide dedicated ALC lines from the telephone companies to access the host”

 

So Cornerstone Information Systems, a little startup in Bloomington Indiana, would load their software on a desktop computer, travel to their clients and install the computer for them, splice into one of the ALC lines, using a special multiplexer and teach a travel agency how to use it.

 

Talk about making sure your clients are happy and productive!

 

But as we all know, computers and the internet became far more commonplace in the years after 1992. How did Cornerstone remain relevant? How did they evolve?

 

Orrego leaned back, smiled, and answered: “We thought it would be cool if we could get data out of these systems [that we’d built].”

 

Don’t all great companies start with the thought of “it would be cool if”? …

 

The Cycle of Ever Changing Technology

“When we started,” Orrego said, “already travel was becoming part of more employees jobs within organizations. It was the beginnings of globalization and if you wanted to compete you had to travel. All of that needed to be measured and managed.”

 

They saw where technology was going, and knew how to adapt. “We had to become an automation company that reduced operational costs and provided great data to manage the business.”

 

So while the travel agencies that Cornerstone counted among its clients evolved, purchased more computers, connected to the internet, and became comfortable with their own technology, Orrego knew that there was potential in evolving how his own company automated its clients’ data.

 

For example, “[travel] reports used to be printed and mailed. Travel agents would have these big piles of reports in the corner of their offices, all unread. We automated it with PDFs.”

 

Anywhere Orrego saw an opportunity within the whole ecosystem of travel to automate, Cornerstone developed an automation solution. Data insights, reporting, workflow – nothing was off limits. “It wasn’t just the reservation process anymore,” Orrego said. “It was also about everything else that needed to be in the reservation. Employee ID, authorization, financial metrics, comments to the airline or hotel”. All of these steps could be fed through a centralized process (or made in to their own automatic process) and prevent errors, or make the process faster.

 

“We were thinking about what we were doing and accomplishing. [We were] constantly thinking of how to ensure a level of quality and reliability with the reservation process for the customers. … Humans could make mistakes. Typos. Etc. We wanted to ensure the documentation and policies were properly done. And if it wasn’t [done properly at the beginning], then we could finish it properly. It was the next scaling step in the industry.”

 

Adapting For The Future

When asked where Cornerstone would be headed in the next decade, Orrego didn’t even skip a beat.

 

“Our customer in the future is the one that is focused on an integration and utilization of information through their entire enterprise. Our future customer wants travel to be a highly integrated and seamless process. [In this sense, integrated means that] you want decisions to come to you. You need to know about something only when a decision needs to be made.”

 

Right now, in order for a travel agent to be updated, they have to keep checking an app or a program. They have to keep themselves updated. They have to make the initiative.

 

When a traveler gets to the airport, they have to check the monitors to know if their flight is delayed,  if their airplane has changed, or if their seat has been moved. But travelers don’t want that. Travelers want to know things in advance as that knowledge first comes available and when they have to make a pertinent decision about it.

 

In Orrego’s words, “You want to be told and updated as to where you are and what’s going on much sooner than later. [Having value means] being insightful and predictive at the moment that the insight and prediction needs the action.”

 

In other words, you should get a notification that alerts you to these things as soon as the GDS is aware that it is happening.

 

He also believes that a travel company’s data reports could use a shakeup as well. “They weren’t really read when they were being mailed, and they aren’t really read now that they’re in PDFs either.” So what can change that? Orrego has a plan to tailor travel reporting to have data that is both interesting and relevant to its consumer.

 

“Say your company gets discounts from an airline when booking in H class. We could incorporate that into our reports and show how many tickets are being booked in which classes and what fare classe where available at the time. You could can then show the airline that you are not able to to get a discount because H class is often not available. That would be interesting information to that company as the company could be missing its discount target.”

 

Even though the number of H class seats in a report may be wholly irrelevant to other companies, it is important to the particular client in the example. Not to mention, it could help their business look better to the travelers for whom they are booking flights.

 

And that’s really the bottom line. Helping your client look good for their clients.

 

 

So, how DO you keep your tech company relevant in today’s world of constantly evolving technological progress?

 Orrego was ready for that one too.

 

“For us, it’s not going to just be about travel. [Travel will] always be a mainstay for us, but it touches so many other parts of the industry that we can facilitate and integrate much broader bases of processes. We will take our tech and because we can do a very integrated expansion of information and enablement of decision making … we will discover other industries that we can enable with the same mentality. Everything is about processes and automation.”

 

Find the need and fill it, no matter how it needs to get done.

 

“We spent 25 years automating the routine so frontline agents can focus on the traveler and companies get the best value for their travel purchase.  We are now looking the next generation of travel automation and leveraging AI and machine learning.  That’s what we do. That’s where we started. That’s where we’re going.”

 

So long as there is data to automate, Cornerstone Information Systems will be there … adapting to whatever needs and systems our clients operate on.

 

Special thanks to Cornerstone Information Systems Founder and CEO, Mat Orrego for both his time and his fantastically captivating storytelling abilities.

CEO Matt Orrego

 Mat Orrego

CEO, Cornerstone Information Systems

 

Powerful New TicketTRAK® Update – AVAILABLE NOW!

 

Powerful New Version of TicketTRAK® is here! What does this mean for you and your company?

 

We are very excited to announce the release of our TicketTRAK update, and we have compiled this page highlighting what’s new regarding this update. What’s new? What’s changed? What can your company expect from this great new tool? Read on to find out!

 

But first, what IS TicketTRAK?

 

We know, and you know, that 5%-10% of the tickets that your customers purchase will change and are at risk of going unused. This is why industry standard practice requires the tracking of unused tickets. We also know that this is no simple task.

Unused tickets that expire mean that the money your client spent on travel simply ends up as a tip in the airlines’ pockets. The good news is that more than 80% of all unused tickets can be recovered through proper management. TicketTRAK is here to help you do just that.

TicketTRAK is designed to fit into your current agency workflow and operates in the background. Our technology provides automated loading, tracking, and monitoring of ticket status both pre and post-travel up to the time of expiration. We even enable loading of specialty ticket types such as MCOs and non-BSP/ARC transactions. We provide a view of ticket status across multiple GDS sources.

Even more critical for you, we enable point of sale alerts so that your agents can opportunities to exchange unused tickets before they expire and become worthless. We layer in robust business intelligence visualizations through our TravelOptix® platform. We also automate reporting to go out to your internal teams and customers.

 

 

What’s New With TicketTRAK?

  • Integration with BookingBuilder (TM)

  • Improved ability for agents to interact with TicketTRAK directly via PNR remarks

  • New ResRule functionality that will alert agents to opportunities to use unused tickets

  • Broadcast report functionality via iBank

  • Improved pre-travel status checks on e-tickets issued through GDS for better data  visualization

  • Simplified process for adding non-ARC / BSP tickets and MCOs

  • Robust data visualization for account management and customer consultation

  • Added a process to upload tickets to TicketTrak in bulk during implementation

  • Including a “Build Your Own Report” interface and functionality

 

These are some of the biggest highlights for new functions and capabilities for TicketTRAK, and there is a lot to be excited about!

 

What can TicketTRAK do for you?

 

 

 

Still wondering if TicketTRAK is the right solution for you?

We would be happy to discuss your unique business situation and further discuss the features and functionalities of TicketTRAK. You can request a demo here or contact our office at:

+1 812 330-4361 *
* Press 2 for Sales

IQCX Toubleshooting Training

iQCX Training Is Here!

Ever have one of those days where a PNR didn’t process correctly, and you wish you could just fix it yourself instead of going through the process of submitting a ticket and waiting for help?

Well, today is your lucky day!

Sign up for iQCX Troubleshooting Training Class HERE!

Because even though we here at Cornerstone thrive on fixing errors as quickly and efficiently as possible, we know that sometimes nothing beats being able to just sit down and do something yourself.

That’s why we are offering our very own iQCX Troubleshooting Courses for clients of all levels and familiarity.

Whether you are looking to designate an employee as your own in-house “go-to” for iQCX troubleshooting issues, or you just want to give your agents a little bit of extra training, these courses are absolutely something that you won’t want to miss.

Take a look at what we have to offer:

 

Web Portal Troubleshooting

(1 hour)

This introductory class for troubleshooting is intended for any iQCX client. 

Attendees will be shown basic troubleshooting steps and procedures in tracking down, identifying problems, and taking steps to fix them.  We will discuss the overall iQCX process, so that you understand how iQCX works, and then show you how to use the options and features available to you in the Web Portal, giving you the power to correct some issues on your own.

————- 

 

 

Composer Troubleshooting

(1 hour)

For customers who are ResRule Writers:

Access to the iQCX Composer gives you more than just the ability to write ResRules.  In it, you can look at many aspects of the overall iQCX processing, and use the Composer’s capabilities to review schedules, troubleshoot ResRules, and see how and why a PNR was not processed correctly.  Most times, it is the user who can identify and correct problems without having to escalate to Cornerstone Support.  In this class, you’ll be shown how to use all the features of the Composer to assist you in your troubleshooting procedures, beyond what you can do in the Web Portal.

 

Current Prices:

$225 – First Seat

$130 – Per seat for the next 4 seats from your company or party

$99 – each seat after the 5th

 

 

 

If you have any questions, you can get in touch with your CIS rep or send any inquiry to: products@ciswired.com

All times listed in the class descriptions are on United States Eastern Time  (GMT -5, same as New York, New York).

*** All seats and prices are non-negotiable and non-refundable ***

Celebrating 2020 By Flying During The New Year Holiday

 

When we picture New Year’s Eve celebrations in our minds, we think of fireworks and huge parties. Here in the US, we tend to think immediately of the sparkling globe dropping to the rooftop of 1 Times Square at exactly midnight — an American tradition since 1908

 

But what about traveling during the New Year? What is it like to be in the air on this holiday? 

 

There are definitely both pros and cons, but some are trying to make “New Year’s In The Air” a new popular way to celebrate … many by promising a second celebration in a different time zone. 

 

New Year’s Eve – What To Expect At The Airport

 

This might actually be one of the best parts to flying during this holiday, especially if you’re not traveling for the novelty. For the most part, airports on both Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve are far emptier than during other days this time of year. This is mostly because people are already at their chosen destinations. 

 

USA Today surveyed some of the busiest airports in the United States, and found a common theme among all of them: 

 

“[Los Angeles International Airport] says about 239,000 fliers are expected to pass through the airport on both Dec. 21 and Dec.23. The slowest days there will be Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Eve, LAX says.

At Florida’s Orlando International, however, officials say five of the six busiest days during the window will fall between Christmas and New Year’s. Orlando officials believe that airport’s two busiest days during the holiday period will be Dec. 28, followed by Dec. 27.” – USA Today

 

So maybe flying on New Year’s Eve is simply the smart choice to make for someone who doesn’t want to deal with the hassle of an otherwise busy time of year. 

 

But what if you are interested in actually celebrating the holiday in a new way? Well, it looks like airlines are starting to oblige.

 

Getting Two New Year’s Eves in 24 Hours

 

The idea of celebrating New Year’s in one location, then flying “backward” to celebrate it again isn’t new. What is new is the fact that some companies are starting to offer packages to promote exactly this. 

 

Business Insider highlights private jets that will take a party of 8 from Sydney, Australia to Los Angeles, California in order to celebrate the New Year in both locations. “the time in LA is 19 hours behind Sydney, so if you can make the journey between the two cities in less time than that, you can fly “back in time” and arrive several hours before you left.” These kinds of packages bring hefty price tags, however, so unless you are ready to save up quite a bit, you may want to skip on down to the next option:

 

Simpleflying.com offers a look at possible other routes to plan for a double-party on New Year’s Eve, as well as a handy graphic to show why this is possible when flying across the international date line. Essentially, any flight taking off from the asian side of the pacific and landing in the western hemisphere will provide you with two different New Year’s celebrations. 

 

Examples on simpleflying.com include:

Hong Kong -> Los Angeles, CA

Tokyo, Japan -> Los Angeles, CA

Guam -> Honolulu, HI

 

Image of the International Date Line from TimeAndDate.com

 

Spending Midnight In The Air

This is another trend that is slowly catching on – airlines offering New Year’s Eve packages for spending the magic moments of the new year at 30,000 feet. 

 

Aerotime.aero puts together lists of flights which will be in the air at midnight (for both originating time zone and destination) so that you can party with the others on your flight. They also pay close attention to what cities you will be flying over. This way, you can observe festivities on the ground. 

 

For a first-hand account, we turn to the author’s father, who is a very frequent flyer. “I got stuck one year having to take a flight from Grand Rapids, MI to San Diego, CA on New Year’s Eve,” he said. “I thought I’d probably just sleep through the whole thing like I usually do, but we got to see the fireworks all across the first part of the country from the air. We saw the ones in Chicago, then I want to say St Louis, but don’t quote me. Plus a bunch of smaller cities’ firework shows in between. Either way, it was pretty spectacular, and now I’m glad I was able to see it.” 

 

When asked if he would do it again, he replied “probably not, unless I could be up there with my family. Then it might be pretty fun.” 

 

Though it should be noted as one blogger points out regarding her own New Year’s Eve flight experience, champagne is not allowed on some airlines due to its pressurization. If you are going to be opening a bottle when flying those airlines, it would need to be a flat wine instead. Check with your airline of choice before booking if this would be a deal-breaker for you.

 

In an interview with Today.com, Dr Robert Quigly of MedAire.com also warns that carbonation can expand up to 30% at the higher altitudes. So that bubbly would make you feel a lot more bloated than it would on the ground anyway. It might be better to skip it until you land at your destination.

 

 

Ringing in A New Decade

 

No matter how you are going to be celebrating the New Year (and the New Decade!), we here at Cornerstone Information Services hope that it is full of happiness, joy, and great memories. Above all, we wish you both prosperity and safety in your celebration and for the whole of 2020. 

 

And if you are traveling, you may want to check out our previous post on “Holiday Travel Hacks” from many of our veteran travelers here at Cornerstone! 

 

Happy New Year, and Safe Journeys! 

 

Holiday “Travel Hacks” From The Experts

 

With the Holiday Season in full swing, we thought it might be fun to have our Cornerstone family share some of their favorite travel hacks, tips, and tricks with you this week. Not only do we handle travel data for major global travel agencies … but many of us are veteran travelers ourselves!

 

Whether it’s advice for short domestic hops or long international hauls, hopefully these can help turn your holiday travel from a dreaded ordeal into a pleasant journey:

 

Arrive At the Airport Early

  • Arrive early for flights  – Jim

 

  • Save your sanity and allow plenty of extra time – Laurie

 

  • Get to the airport earlier than you think you need too – Amy

 

  • Seems like common sense, but arrive at the airport early and ensure your phone is fully charged. Charging ports always seem to be at a premium  – Bobbi

 

  • Make sure you allow for extra time getting through security so you’re not short on time getting to your flight – Sheri

 

Download the Airline’s App Before You Go

  • If flying, download the airline’s app.  Use it for your boarding pass, tracking bags, maps at airports, schedule changes, etc – Amy

 

  • You can also download an app to check airport security lines and wait times – Amy

 

  • If you’re tech savvy, download the airline app to your phone so you can use that for flight updates, boarding passes, and general airport information – Sheri

 

Plan, Plan, Plan, and Remain both Flexible and Vigilant Until You Arrive

  • Prepare for (and expect) delays. Also, have a backup plan if a flight cancelled or delayed  – Jim

 

  • I would also say avoid weekend travel, especially when Christmas is on a Tuesday or Wednesday  – Laurie

 

  • Fly as early in the day as possible – more time for re-routing, if needed  – Shaun

 

  • Keep an eye on your flight status. Even if weather is not a factor in your area, there could be a domino effect, especially if you have connecting flights – Jodi

 

  • Make sure to check your flight status prior to going to the airport – Sheri

 

  • Remember your cell phone charger and perhaps also bring a charging pack. You don’t want to be low on power if you have to communicate with relatives or use an Uber – Nick

 

  • Clear storage space in your cell phone, so you can take plenty of pictures and videos – Nick

 

Packing Light and Smart

  • When packing, use “Travel Cubes”.  They save space, are easy to unpack, and make it easy to keep things organized. Plus you can use a cube for dirty clothes while you are traveling – Amy

 

  • Use packing bags in order to organize your clothes.  They save you space in your bag and keep things from getting wrinkled. It also helps stay organized and ready to go home or to your next destination – Mat

 

  • Use a small craft organizer box to pack jewelry.  Cheap, adjustable, and keeps items separate – Holly

 

  • Keep all required medications on you and not in your luggage, just in case your luggage gets lost – Sheri

 

  • Before you travel, buy two (2) of every hygiene item you use and create a travel hygiene bag.  Then you have your travel bag ready at all times and don’t have to worry about the hassle of getting all the hygiene essentials at the last minute.  Having this grab and go takes a little stress off of the packing day – Jenny

 

  • Binder clip your razors.  When grabbing for items in your beauty bag, don’t get cut by your razor.  Place binder clip on the blade side and protect yourself from a nasty cut when in a rush searching for something – Jenny

 

  • Don’t over pack!  The less you have to carry, the easier you will be able to maneuver through airports and be able to keep your carry-on luggage with you – Sheri

 

  • Bring a charger in your carry-on! – Amy

 

Looking The Part

 

  • Dressing nicely will surprisingly save you trouble. Plus dress shoes are easier to take off to put through the x-ray – Marco

 

  • When traveling abroad, try not to look like a tourist or someone that doesn’t belong.  Do your research and try to fit in vs. stand-out. The best way to do this is to look at pictures on the internet of how people dress. Get familiar on Google Maps where you are staying and local landmarks.  Know the general way from the airport to your hotel – Mat

 

  • If you’re traveling alone, dressed nicely, and wearing your smile, don’t be afraid to ask for an upgrade. The gate people will be far more likely to upgrade someone who looks responsible and who looks easy and pleasant to deal with – Lierin

 

Pack Your Smile, and Don’t Be Afraid  to Ask For That Upgrade or For Other Help From Gate Agents

 

  • ​If you’re running late, ask at the gate if they can help in any way. It only worked once, but I was dressed nicely and they took me on one of those golf carts between the airport walls all the way to my gate – Marco

 

  • Bring extra patience (and kindness)! – Laurie

 

  • The Gate Agent is your best friend, or your worst enemy; be nice to them – Shaun

 

  • Smile – everyone is in the same boat … and, thank the various workers you encounter because they’re working during the holidays so you can travel  – Shaun

 

Don’t Check A Bag If You Can Help It

 

  • When flying, avoid checking any bags if you can. It makes it easier for airline staff to help you change flights if necessary. They often give a visible sigh of relief when they learn there are no checked bags to deal with! – Nick

 

  • Try not to check any bags. Do you know how much airlines make in just baggage fees? It’s crazy! Besides, you can fit a lot in a purse, laptop case, and a carry-on. If you MUST, it’s probably cheaper to ship other stuff to your destination than to check it on the plane – Lierin

 

Getting Through Security Hack? – Bring An Empty Water Bottle!

  • I always take my empty water bottle through the security check and fill it up at filling station after security. Saves you from buying an overpriced bottle of water! – Lauren

 

  • Bring reusable water-bottles. (Empty until you get through TSA) They can always be re-filled, and you don’t have to buy water at the airport – Amy

 

  • Make sure you review the TSA requirements prior to going to the airport.  It will help you speed through security – Sheri

 

Once You Arrive

  • Jetlag is a strange beast. Most people that can sleep on the plane do so. But if you can’t, which is common, it’s really best to just get there and essentially sleep from when you land to when you should be waking up the following day. That can be a few hours to something like 20 hours. That’s how I used to get adjusted flying so much from Italy to Brazil and back  – Marco

 

  • Shop for groceries when you arrive and are settled at your destination.  Getting the basics like water and a few snacks in local stores instead of at the hotel can save you a ton of money – Mat

 

  • Uber vs. Lyft vs. Gett (taxi).  There are a ton of services for ride sharing  There is a HUGE difference in pricing for airport runs.  Check all three and save money – Mat

 

  • Make sure you have something that stands out on your luggage so it’s easily identified coming off the baggage claim – Sheri

 

  • Put identification inside your checked luggage so in case the exterior identification tag gets lost, your luggage can still be identified – Sheri

 

Other Invaluable Tips From Seasoned Cornerstone Travelers:

  • Bring a rubix cube. Maybe odd, sure, but showing a stewardess how to solve my rubix cube paid for a sandwich on a flight once – Marco

 

  • Save on international data and cell phone charges.  Upgrade your phone so you can use e-sim technology. I am really loving the GSMA e-sim providers that can save you a ton like TruPhone.com and GigSky.com – Mat

 

  • Don’t pay international costs for your cell phone. There are so many other ways to call people. Get a “call through the internet” app. Use Facebook, Snapchat, Skype, whatever you want. My husband and I would pay for Skype minutes whenever he had to go to Italy. Did you know you could use Skype from a Playstation Portable? Neither did I! – Lierin

 

  • Keep a pen/ pencil or crayon handy to draw or play tic-tac-toe with the kids – Bobbi

 

  • Not just for the holidays ….. but keep a journal or take pics of the labels from wines you enjoyed when traveling so you can remember them when you get back home – Bobbi

 

  • Pack an extra holiday card with an Amazon gift card. There may be someone at your celebration that you weren’t expecting, and you won’t want to be empty-handed at gift-giving time! – Nick

 

And the best Holiday Travel Hack comes from our very own St Nick!: 

  • When traveling by reindeer sleigh, be cognizant of foggy weather conditions. Proper lighting is important, so arrange your team of reindeer accordingly – St. Nick

 

Although, we have to say that there is one Cornerstone employee who seems to have beaten holiday travel altogether!

My ‘Holiday Travel Hack’:  I tell people I’ll cook the meals if they travel to me instead – Josh


But unless you’re lucky enough to be the actual “holiday destination” like Josh, we hope these travel tips and tricks can help make your holiday a little less stressful and a little more bright!

Happiest of Holidays and Brightest of New Years from our Cornerstone family to you and your own!

 

 

 

5 Major Costs Of Not Tracking Your Unused Airline Tickets

You work very hard with your corporate customers to help them keep travel costs within the budgets they set. Booking with preferred suppliers, searching for lower available fares, enforcing policy, and leveraging your ticketing discounts are important ways to demonstrate your value as a Travel Management Company.

 

However, despite your best efforts, tickets will be bought, paid for and cancelled – and your customers will spend money that will not result in actual travel. How much? And what can you do to help them with this? Read on to find out!

 


 1. Industry research suggests that 5%-10% of a company’s air spend will go to tickets that eventually go unused.

 

That number gets lower when talking about individual travelers and leisure travel, but let’s just focus on your clients for now: corporate travel.

If one of your clients spends $5 Million in air travel in one year, that means they could be leaving $400,000 of unused tickets on the table that goes straight into the airline’s pocket. Here is our breakdown of that company’s average estimated spend and savings by keeping track of those tickets:

 

2. Our research has shown that more than 80% of all unused tickets can be recovered through proper management.

 

Of course, it would be nice if that number was 100%! But some tickets just won’t be possible to recover. The airlines know this, but so does your client. Any recovery is better than none, but you want to make sure your clients see the absolute most recovery possible.  That 80% can result in real savings.

 

The example above of the company with $5 Million in air spend showed an annual savings of $235,530. That’s substantial!

 

3. In Q1 2019, airlines made a profit of $662.1 million dollars just from reservation change fees.

 

These fees can be a major deterrent for people from using their unused airline tickets.

Some people may just decide not to even deal with the hassle of changing that ticket. The very idea of sitting on the phone with an airline’s customer support might be more than enough to dissuade someone from using a ticket that has a $100 change fee associated with it.

 

 

4. Despite repeated attempts to get clarification, airlines have not divulged how much money they make from pocketing the profits from unused tickets.

 

Nor does it look like they will any time soon because the government does not require this. But it is estimated that up to a total of 5% of all tickets go unused (business / individual / leisure/ etc).

For an industry that made $32.5 billion in fares in just Q1 of  2019, (if all tickets were treated equally), that would equal around $1.6 billion in profit from unused ticket fares!

 

5.  Your Own Amazing Reputation!

 

If you are a travel management company, you need to reassure your clients that you can keep solid track of unused tickets and buffer their losses when the inevitable happens and a trip is cancelled. You want to look good and make sure they get the best service possible, right?


 

At this point, I’m sure you’re wondering what Cornerstone Information Systems can help you do about this. Well, you’re in luck! Our very own TicketTRAK solution is available and ready to help you save your clients some major money.

 

Not only does TicketTRAK keep a running inventory of how many unused tickets your client has  …  but if your client is looking to book a flight, TicketTRAK will notify you of any unused tickets on that account! No researching beforehand on the part of your agents! The system will simply prompt your agents to ask the client if they would like to use the eligible unused ticket in their inventory.

 

Contact us for more information on how TicketTRAK can help your TMC keep track of all of your client’s unused tickets today!

 

*Much of the financial information in this article comes directly from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, and is completely available to the public.

How Automation Helps Grow Your Agency without Growing Your Overhead

 

Now adays, “Growth” is the hot topic in all corners of business; it’s almost all you hear about! Facebook, Uber, Lyft, and Airbnb all made growth the hip new way to do business, sometimes even at the expense of profit. In fact, Lyft (among others) held its IPO before turning a profit, but people still invested based on the fact that it was a disruptive company with (you guessed it!) sky-high growth.

 

Now, this isn’t to say that growth is a wholly new indicator of company health. Just the opposite, we measure both private companies and national economies first and foremost by how much they are able to grow in a fiscal year. But at what point does it become necessary to say goodbye to your bottom line in pursuit of this magic number?

 

We here at Cornerstone Information Services don’t believe you have to sacrifice anything of the sort in order to grow your own business. Here is why: 

 

The Outdated Traditional Model – Does This Sound Like Your Agency?

 

Simplistically speaking, a company that sells widgets needs employees to produce those widgets. The company can only produce so many widgets with so many people. What happens when orders for widgets outweigh the company’s ability to produce them? 

 

So far, the obvious answer has been “hire more people to make more widgets”. Even TV comedies know this and use it as a punchline. (See: Big Bang Theory when Penny’s “Penny Blossom” business takes off and she has to enlist the help of other characters to finish her inaugural order, providing for the stressful but comedic ending of the episode). 

 

But the reality of today’s business world is not always so straight forward. What if, instead of “widgets”, your company sells services? Finding other employees who could provide the particular service can be taxing. If you can’t find someone right away, you have to train new employees. What happens when those new employees realize – after 3 months of training – that the job isn’t right for them after all?  Now, the company has invested time, money, and resources for no return … and they still need to find a way to provide the requested services.

 

Current employees in the meantime get burned out handling all of their clients, AND all of the paperwork, logs, and back office data that comes with such a venture. So maybe you hire people to handle that back office side of things. And as your company grows, you find yourself with as many employees handling the data as you have those performing the services that you sell. Does this sound familiar?

 

Modern Problems Require Modern Solutions

 

Queue automation. In the travel industry, Cornerstone Information Systems is very aware that there are two aspects to your travel company: The outward client facing interactions, and the inward data facing operations. 

 

Obviously, if you are in the travel industry, the joy of your job comes from helping travelers! You want your employees to have as much time and care and energy to spend booking your clients’ flights, cars, hotels, you name it. Not only is that where you can curate your business’ reputation, but it is also where almost all of your revenue producing activities occur. 

 

So now, you have a conundrum. You can: 

    1. Ask your highly dedicated employees to take time out of helping their clients in order to manage all of the data that your company is generating.
    2. Spend huge amounts of money hiring new employees to manage that data, resulting in no increases to your net profits
    3. Automate your data processes. 

 

The Travel Agency of Tomorrow 

 

We have a good idea how much time is “wasted” by doing the same repetitive tasks in business over and over again. A report by WorkMarket actually found that “53% of all employees state that they can save up to 2 work hours a day (240 hours per year)” if the repetitive pieces of their jobs were automated. That is an amazing number! By that rationale, if just one of your employees (let’s say they’re making $15/hour) dealing with back office data in your company could have 2 hours of their time automated, your company would immediately save $3,600 per employee per year. 

 

And this is just for one employee. 

 

Imagine everyone in your office who pulls reports to send to clients. Imagine everyone in your agency who has to keep track of ticket fares, client budgets, traveler invoicing … even those overseeing policy compliance. All of these efforts can be a real drain on time that could otherwise be spent with the client themselves! 

 

That time adds up. And so does your overhead. 

 

The travel company of tomorrow, however, has all of that in hand with automation processes like the solutions offered by Cornerstone Information Systems. 

 

With Cornerstone’s workflow automation and data services, your employees are freed up to do what really matters – tending to your clients! 

 

No extra hires just to deal with data. No wasted hours with your talented agents toiling over spreadsheets. No late nights and overtime pushing out requested reports. Just think. What would your company look like with all of that taken care of for you? Even your clients will notice the difference! 

 

Let Cornerstone Information Systems help transform your company in to the “Travel Agency of Tomorrow”.

 

Cornerstone’s technicians have worked in both the travel industry and the automation industry since 1992 and know exactly how precious your agents’ time is. Let us help guide you into this new world of workflow automation, and let your employees get back to doing what they love to do – helping their clients. 

Bloomington’s “Fast 15!” Inaugural List Highlights Cornerstone’s Outstanding Growth In The Local Tech Community

 

 

Question: What does Cornerstone have in common with three constructions companies, an HVAC company, and a number of restaurants and breweries? 

Answer: We are all members of an exceptional new group of businesses that our community has dubbed the “Fast 15!” – reserved for the 15 fastest growing companies in our corner of paradise that is Bloomington, Indiana. 

 

… And as a company who processes travel data on a global scale, we don’t use the word “paradise” lightly. 


(more…)