Getting Ready for GBTA Convention

We can’t believe it’s time for another GBTA Convention! Are you ready?

GBTA Convention is always one of the busiest, best, and most interesting conferences of the year – and this year will be no exception.

This year we continued to actively support GBTA through our support and participation in the local Ohio Valley, Chicago, and Dallas Fort-Worth Chapters. We are also proud to support GBTA Ladders.

On Monday, August 5 at GBTA Convention, Tom Lacny is presenting a session on “Auditing Is Critical To Effective Procurement And Contract Management.” Click here to learn more about the session.

You can find us on the Expo floor in booth 2812. We’ll be catching up with clients, sharing news about our recent acquisition of Topaz, talking about our enhancements to TicketTRAK™ and our latest technology.

Interested in setting up a meeting with our team? Click here to let us know what works best for you.

 

Wondering who will be at GBTA Convention from Cornerstone?

Here’s the team heading to Chicago:

Mat Orrego, CEO

Tom Lacny, Executive Vice President, Sales, Marketing, & Advisory Services

Bobbi Huber, Global Account Manager

Michael Kell, Director, Business Development

Lauren Wolters, Senior Director, Marketing

 

See you in Chicago!

Join Us At Our Education Session At GBTA Convention

We are excited for our education session at GBTA Convention 2019 in Chicago. This year’s Convention theme is “Evolve,” and our education session focuses on the evolution of the role of the travel buyer and how audits are a critical part of their role.

As travel has evolved, travel buyers are dealing with new types of data and new tools available, auditing provides an effective way to ensure that you have the right program with the right tools. With all the options and choices available today, it’s crucial to make sure yours works for you and your business. The value of auditing has never been more important with the different rich sources of data and new tools available to travel managers today.

Join our session to hear Tom Lacny, EVP, Sales, Marketing & Advisory Services discuss how effective procurement and contract management is a critical part of any program – and why auditing is valuable tool for buyers.

In this session, you will learn best practices for auditing your program to drive comprehensive improvement and savings – from pre-ticketing audit to hotel and airfare re-shopping to strategies for successful implementation of auditing software.

 

Auditing Is Critical To Effective Procurement And Contract Management

Monday, August 5

9:30 AM – 10:00 AM

Room 1578 

 

Interested in learning more, or can’t make the session? Click here to connect with us and set up a time for us to meet.

 

Airfare Audits Demonstrate Agency Value, Travel Compliance

For more than 35 years, Topaz International has been the industry leader in airfare auditing services for global and domestic travel programs.  Each year, Topaz International reviews more than $2 billion in airfares for clients of all sizes, helping to demonstrate traveler compliance and the value of using a travel management company.

“Our clients range in size from under $1 million in annual travel volume to over $200 million across a very broad spectrum of industries,” said Michele Simon, Director, Client Services for Topaz and Cornerstone Information Systems.

Such clients use Topaz airfare audits to verify that travel management companies and travelers are booking the lowest logical airfares and are taking advantage of negotiated rates. In addition to identifying cost savings or missed opportunities, Topaz airfare audits can also tell whether corporate fares and compliance are performing at or above average through the Topaz National Database – an industry leading benchmarking tool that measures fare performance on top city pairs against other companies.

“They have a particularly good and unbiased reputation in the industry,” said one client.

“Our Best Interests at Heart”         

One global professional services firm, which has leveraged the power of Topaz International for more than a decade, uses the unbiased airfare audits to validate that its travel management company is providing the best fares and services to corporate travelers.

For this firm, with more than $100 million in air spend, the audit reports have become a regular component and important feature of the company’s corporate travel management strategy, according to the firm’s director of travel services.

“I receive an audit report every month, and while our agents are particularly good at what they do, there are times when they don’t find the best fare,” the director said. “There are times when Topaz finds better fares for us.”

The buyer views the report online and looks at the statistics, seeing if there were any itineraries that were not compliant, or if the counselor did not find the lowest rates.  “Then I go back to the particular itinerary and see what it is and go back to the travel management company if need be,” the director said.  “It makes us feel comfortable that the TMC we deal with has qualified people and our best interests at heart,” the travel executive added.

Making Noncompliance Nonexistent
The audits also serve as a valuable check on noncompliance on behalf of both the traveler and the agency.  “If I see 3 or 4 passenger name records that are out of policy a month, that’s a lot,” said the director of travel services, whose traveler compliance exceeds 90 percent.  Thanks to Topaz measuring the pulse of corporate travel compliance, “We feel very comfortable that people are making the right decision.”

The buyer praised the thoroughness of Topaz audits in those rare instances when fares booked by a traveler or counselor were higher that other available fares, noting details of “which fare was lower, on what carrier, in what class of service – all of those things you need to know.”

Since no two companies or travel programs are alike, Topaz customizes audits to client needs, allowing them to set parameters for measuring performance and service.

Keeping Agents on Point
While Topaz’s services provide benefits to corporate travel programs, it also translates to benefits for the travel management company, such as validating the TMC’s services to its client, and on occasion, showing room for improvement.  Audits can help identify any issues with travel counselors, evaluate agent performance and pinpoint training needs.

One global project specialist for a travel management company said a Topaz audit “keeps everybody on their toes.”

The audits help to support the value the corporate travel agency aims to provide to clients.

“It’s beneficial to have Topaz auditing because it drives into the travel counselor that you can be on a Topaz audit at any time,” the TMC employee said.  “These things can happen at any time and you have to remain consistent for the client.”

The “Watchdog” Role
In addition to providing the company’s travel department and its travel management company with a wealth of data, Topaz’s known role as a watchdog helps to keep travelers and agents in line.

To demonstrate the effectiveness of the audits, the director of travel services at a global professional services firm conducted a trial shifting the audits from monthly to quarterly, and notes, “once you let up, you find people become a bit more careless about it.” By keeping the audits ongoing on a monthly basis, “our travelers know that it’s going to be audited and our TMC knows it’s going to be audited, so it’s a worthwhile investment.”

Another Topaz client at an industrial supplies manufacturer agreed.  “During the audit period, the pressure is on the travel counselors to make sure that they are finding the lowest fares and providing the documentation,” said the global travel manager.

In addition to demonstrating the potency of travel agency services, the director of travel services at the global professional services firm said the audits also show the effectiveness of the travel department to the rest of the company, especially those at the C-level.

“When an internal audit comes our way, and they do every two years, they want to know whether our program and TMC are the right ones for us, and it helps validate that they are,” the executive said.

To learn more about Topaz, please contact Michael Kell (mkell@ciswired.com) and make plans to stop by and see Cornerstone at GBTA 2019.

About Topaz

Topaz is the global leader for auditing and other strategic services to the corporate travel management professional.  Topaz has over 30 years of experience of auditing airfares and other travel related expenditures and supporting travel managers, buyers and agencies to improve performance and facilitate cost savings.  Topaz will assist you in validating savings during these difficult economic times. Cornerstone acquired Topaz in 2018.

 

Cornerstone Information Systems Announces New and Enhanced Solution for Ticket Tracking

 

 

 

 

 

Bloomington, Indiana (April 23, 2019) – Cornerstone Information Systems® today announces its new and enhanced TicketTRAK™ technology for tracking unused tickets.

Tracking unused airline tickets remains a big challenge for travel companies. Cornerstone research indicates that five percent to ten percent of a corporation’s total air spend is associated with unused tickets, and more than 80 percent of all unused tickets can be recovered through proper management. TicketTRAK is here to help travel companies do just that.

“Travel companies look for ways to save money for their customers, and TicketTRAK delivers that,” said Cornerstone CEO Mat Orrego. “Ignoring unused tickets leaves money on the table that can be put toward new and additional travel.”

TicketTRAK fits easily into a travel agency’s workflow and operates in the background. The technology provides automated loading, tracking, and monitoring of ticket status, both pre and post-travel up to the time of expiration. Cornerstone’s technology enables the loading of specialty ticket types such as MCOs and non-BSP/ARC transactions. Additionally, the solution provides a single view of ticket status across multiple GDS sources and enables broadcast reporting to clients.

“TicketTRAK helps our travel management customers ensure that their clients get the most value from every dollar they spend on airline tickets,” said Kyle Moser, Vice President of Product Strategy and Development at Cornerstone Information Systems. “And, by leveraging their existing workflows and automation, we help them deliver this value without additional work. We had to make sure that our technology fit right into our customers’ existing processes.”

Even more critical for travel companies, Cornerstone sends point of sale alerts to agents to identify travelers with potential unused ticket savings opportunities. Cornerstone layers in robust business intelligence visualizations through the TravelOptix® platform for reporting and analytics.  These are integrated with existing reservation log, queue, and detailed views. TicketTRAK also automates reporting for distribution to internal teams and customers.

To learn more about TicketTRAK, please click here.

To learn more about Cornerstone Information Systems or to set up an interview with Cornerstone experts, please contact Lauren Wolters (lwolters@ciswired.com) or visit www.ciswired.com.

Helping You Manage The Impact Of The FAA Temporarily Grounding Boeing 737 MAX

On March 13, 2019, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) of the United States ordered the temporary grounding of all Boeing 737 MAX aircraft as operated by United States airlines or in United States territory. For latest information from the FAA, click here.

Cornerstone Information Systems can and wants to help our customers manage the impacts of this FAA ruling on their business.

Cornerstone is ready to provide our customers with reservation data showing critical information about travelers and their itineraries that will be affected by the grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX equipment.

To request information on the availability and receipt of your data, please contact your Cornerstone Account Manager or Cornerstone Support via email (support@ciswired.com) or direct by phone at +1 (888) 778-0897 or +1 (812)  330-4361 option #3.

Anytime the need arises, Cornerstone has the data to help you be responsive to the needs of your customers, travelers, or stakeholders.

 

Sincerely,

Laurie Reese

Executive Vice President, Customer Services

Join Us At Travel Technology Europe

We are so excited for Travel Technology Europe, which kicks off in one week!

We have two keynote sessions happening at the Innovation Theatre, and we’ve shared all the details below. Don’t forget to schedule an appointment to meet the Cornerstone team, and be sure to register for our Cocktails and Canapés reception at the Hand & Flower.

 

Operationalizing NDC

Wednesday, February 20, 13:00-13:45, Innovation Theatre

This session will explore the challenges of operationalizing NDC (New Distribution Capability) in your environment. NDC is here, and we all need to find ways to manage the evolving distribution model and the increases in data. This moderated panel will discuss strategies to manage increased content within your program, critical technology decisions to track data, and the evolution of reporting and analytics within your business. This panel will be moderated by Mat Orrego, CEO, Cornerstone Information Systems, with panelists from different parts of the travel industry.

Panelists:

  • Mat Orrego, CEO, Cornerstone Information Systems, Panel Moderator
  • Tye Radcliffe, Director of Distribution, United Airlines
  • Moshe Rafiah, CEO, Travelfusion
  • Karen Janssen, Chief Information Officer, EMEA, Corporate Travel Management UK

 

A Look At The Future Of Travel

Thursday, February 21, 11:00-11:45, Innovation Theatre

Mat Orrego, CEO, Cornerstone Information Systems, will interview Philippe Chereque, President, American Express Global Business Travel. Their lively discussion will focus on the challenges and opportunities facing business travel today, from new technologies and infrastructure to the changing demographics of travelers.

Participants:

  • Mat Orrego, CEO, Cornerstone Information Systems, Panel Moderator
  • Philippe Chereque, President, American Express Global Business Travel

 

 

Five Things Not to Miss at Travel Technology Europe Next Month

Travel Technology Europe (TTE) is the leading event in Europe in the travel technology space. Held annually in London, this year’s show is set to be another valuable opportunity for travel industry professionals to network, discover tech solutions to unlock the full potential of your business, and learn more about the latest innovations, products and suppliers to support your business objectives.

With over 6,000 attendees and two days packed full of education sessions and networking opportunities, perusing the agenda can seem a bit daunting for even a veteran attendee. To help, we’ve put together a list of the top five things not to miss during this year’s event:

  1. Attend the TTE Disrupt Awards – Innovation Pitch Live
    Always one of the most entertaining and informative sessions at TTE, the 2019 Disrupt Awards features a Dragons’ Den/Shark Tank style pitch session where finalists will have an opportunity to present their innovation on stage at the show in front of a panel of judges. Held in the Innovation Theatre, the session will take place on Wednesday, 20 February at 16:00 – 17:00. Check out the 2019 Shortlist here.
  2. Meet with TTE Exhibitors
    Scheduling appointments with TTE exhibitors gives attendees a unique, one-on-one opportunity to meet with over 120 travel technology suppliers offering potential solutions for your organisation. View the full list of TTE exhibitors here and make sure to schedule a time to meet with the Cornerstone team at stand T95.
  3. Take Advantage of Expert-Led Education Sessions
    TTE education sessions are crafted to not only provide inspiring content from industry experts but provide attendees with actionable solutions to everyday challenges. From ways to navigate changes due to NDC to utilising voice recognition technology, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT), the conference programme provides a wide range of topics coupled with a depth of speaker knowledge that make the sessions a “can’t miss” for any driven industry professional. Mark your calendars for Monday, 20 February from 13:00 – 13:45 for a session on Operationalising NDC and Tuesday, 21 February from 11:15 – 12:00 for A Look into the Future of Travel, both in the Innovation Theatre, featuring Cornerstone CEO Mat Orrego. Plan out all of the sessions you want to attend in advance by viewing the full conference programme here
  4. Stop by the Business Travel Show
    TTE is co-located in Olympia London with the Business Travel Show, and when you register for TTE, your pass will include free entry to the Business Travel Show. The Business Travel Show is the largest event in Europe for corporate travel buyers, and is aimed at those who book, buy or manage business travel. For more information on the Business Travel Show, visit their website here.
  5. Make the Most of Networking Opportunities
    Networking opportunities abound at TTE. It’s not only a great event to catch up with industry friends but connect with speakers and welcome new entrants as well. Not everyone is a natural networker, so if you’re at a loss for topics to discuss, try asking one of the following questions to break the ice:

    • What’s the most interesting thing you saw on the floor today?
    • What drew you to this session this morning/afternoon?
    • What are you most looking forward to at TTE? 

In general, making the most out of TTE comes down to being organized. Make sure to review the conference programme, set appointments with exhibitors you want to meet, and plan any additional meetings well in advance. The time to start preparing for TTE is now – so make a note of the five opportunities above and you’ll be sure to hit the ground running later this month in London.

Cornerstone Acquires Topaz International

 

January 17, 2019 – We are excited to share that we have acquired the auditing and benchmarking business of Topaz International. Topaz is a leading provider of travel audits and the analysis of travel programs and policies for corporate buyers.

Since 1978, Topaz has delivered quality services to over 500 of the Fortune 1000 companies around the world. The exceptional Topaz team is joining Cornerstone, along with Bradley Seitz, President, Topaz, who will remain in a leadership role to provide continuity and advice, and strategic direction on future initiatives.

Topaz is an ideal complement to our growing work with corporate travel buyers and an opportunity to enhance the Topaz offerings with our workflow automation and reporting & analytics solutions. With the addition of Topaz benchmarking and fare auditing capabilities, we are expanding and deepening our core capabilities in helping companies both manage and measure the effectiveness of their travel programs.

In the next few months, Topaz and Cornerstone will work to build the foundation for a broader, more tech integrated offering of our services that advance our reporting and analytical abilities. Topaz will continue to run under its brand and leadership to maintain impartiality in its consulting services to corporate buyers.

Over the last 18 months, we have been hiring and have plans to double our workforce in the coming years. We remain focused on building our business by offering enhanced services that help buyers manage their programs and relationships with suppliers, distributors, and services partners. The Topaz acquisition creates a stronger prospect for Cornerstone and allows us to expand the range of services we provide to all our customers.

Cornerstone Information Systems grows, hires to tame travel tech’s next frontier

 

Indiana University, Luddy Hall, Location: Bloomington IN, Architect: Pelli Clarke Pelli

Earlier this month, Mat Orrego, CEO, sat down the team at TechPoint to talk about Cornerstone’s growth plans. Mat discussed the plans to add 40 new hires by 2021, the new company headquarters, and a focus more on building more automated services. Read the article here.

TechPoint is the growth accelerator for Indiana’s tech ecosystem. Indiana currently boasts a $7 billion in tech company acquisitions and IPOs, the most affordable housing market in the country, and a high production of software jobs.

Getting Ready for GBTA Convention

We can’t believe it’s time for another GBTA Convention! Are you ready?

We are hard at work getting ready for GBTA Convention in San Diego, August 11-15, 2018.

GBTA Convention is always one of the busiest, best, and most interesting conferences of the year – and this year will be no exception.

This year we continued to actively support GBTA as the Volunteer Leadership Sponsor. We are committed to supporting the volunteer leaders because our own team gives their time, energy, and effort to GBTA chapters and committees.

Bobbi Huber, Board Member, Ohio Valley BTA

Lauren Wolters, Co-Leader, GBTA Ladders

This year we will sponsor a Volunteer Lounge for all of the hard working GBTA volunteers. The lounge provides a quiet place for volunteers to catch-up on work, grab a bite to eat, or take a moment to rest. We know the hours are long at GBTA Convention, but the days fly by.

We are also working hard on the two sessions we’re participating in.

Lauren Wolters and Christine Dohmen are leading a session titled “Overcoming the Challenges with Data Aggregation.” This session will explore the challenges of data aggregation, discuss how users get trapped in the fog of data, and why it’s important for every company to create their data philosophy. The session is on Monday, August 13 at 9:30am. Click here to add it to your Convention planner.

On Tuesday, Mat Orrego is participating on a panel on “Data Analytics & Trends.” This session brings together a panel of industry experts and thought leaders to discuss the latest trends in data and the role of analytics in corporate travel and procurement practices. This highly interactive session will allow plenty of time for audience questions and discuss the results of a pre-event survey conducted by Advito. The session is Tuesday, August 14 at 9:45am. Click here to add it to your Convention planner.

Don’t miss Cornerstone booth at the Expo! We’re located at Booth 841. Be sure to set up an appointment so that you have with our team to talk about your unique business and our expertise in Data Services, Workflow Automation, and Reporting & Analytics. Just add us to your Convention Planner and pick a time that works for your schedule.

Wondering who will be at GBTA Convention from Cornerstone?

Here’s the team heading to San Diego:

Mat Orrego, Chief Executive Office and Founder

Shaun McDermott, CFO

Tom Lacny, Executive Vice President, Sales, Marketing, & Advisory Services

Christine Dohmen, Platform Manager, Reporting & Analytics

Michael Doyle, Director, Busienss Development

Pat Hochstein, Director, Business Development and Global Account Management

Bobbi Huber, Global Account Manager

Michael Kell, Director, Business Development

Lauren Wolters, Director, Marketing

Interested in setting up a meeting with our team? Use the My Convention Planner app to schedule an appointment or contact our team directly.

See you in San Diego!