Southwest Expands Meetings Product Capabilities, Launches TravelTrack

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Southwest Airlines recently expanded the capabilities of its
meetings product, Southwest VP and chief sales officer Dave Harvey confirmed
earlier in April. 

Functionality now enables users to request event proposals
with end-to-end automation, unlimited name changes, new bulk event requests
with up to 50 meetings at once, faster fare filings, detailed event reporting
and additional custom offers, according to Southwest.

Event reporting now includes a user’s history, so they can
see all their previously executed and completed contracts “at their
fingertips,” Harvey said. “A lot of these big events happen every
year. Now they can kind of pick up where they left off. How successful was that
event? Did they get the utilization out of the meeting agreement that they
expected for Southwest? It’s one more way they’re not starting from scratch.”

The data goes back to October 2023, when the meetings
product was launched, according to Southwest. 


Now they can kind of pick up where they left off. How successful was that event? Did they get the utilization out of the meeting agreement that they expected for Southwest? It’s one more way they’re not starting from scratch.”

SWA’s Dave Harvey


For the custom offers, the tool looks at what a customer’s
transient agreement is versus the dynamic offer engine, Harvey said. “We
can actually put the best of both worlds in front of them to see what makes
sense to give them the best offer,” he added.

Further, after the release of the meetings product last
fall, if a customer needed to get assistance from the service team or their
account manager, “it would kind of punch out and you’d go back to manual
mode,” Harvey said. “Now, we’ve got the next level of capability
where you can adjust the proposal digitally and stay in the workflow.”

Harvey added that the carrier has a high rate of proposals
that go straight through without any edits or adjustments. 

The product also allows for what Harvey called a “deep
link.” No matter what the channel the customer is using, whether the
global distribution system or an API, a meeting planner or corporate travel
manager can distribute a booking link to all their travelers. “It makes it
so much easier for the travelers to just click on the link,” Harvey said. 

TravelTrack

Southwest also in April launched a new product named
TravelTrack. At the time of the joint conference sponsored by ATPCO and Airline
Reporting Corp. in mid-April, when Harvey spoke with BTN, the carrier was doing
some “final validations” with travel management companies and a
booking tool, Harvey said. 

What is it? 

“This is going to be the best-in-class product for duty
of care,” Harvey said. Essentially, it is capturing data when a corporate
traveler makes a change to their itinerary that differs from their channel of
booking, including when they make the booking in an online booking tool but then
change it, say, via the Southwest website or app. The company used to lose visibility
of that traveler.

TravelTrack can capture the change data and send messages to
the TMC in “near real time,” Harvey said. “It’s a tech lift for
predominantly the TMC, but once the TMC has the capability, they have hundreds
of accounts that they can service. A lot of [travel] buyers and lot of TMCs wanted
better, real-time data to understand where their travelers are in the journey,
and that was really the inspiration.”

United
Airlines in October 2023 also announced a solution to this issue of losing
visibility on travelers who make changes on airline-direct platforms after
using an OBT for the initial booking.

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