How Airlines Can Reduce Distribution Costs And Win More Corporate Customers With A Next-Gen Direct Booking System

Over the last few months, corporate travelers have increasingly been taking to the skies in numbers that aren’t that far from pre-pandemic highs. 

The Wall Street Journal notes a steady uptick in corporate travel transactions since early 2022, especially from small and medium-sized businesses. Notably, the demand for corporate travel shows no signs of slowing down, presenting an immense opportunity for airlines to capitalize on this highly lucrative customer segment.

Every airline executive knows that acquiring more corporate customers, providing them with a memorable, frictionless experience, and optimizing the revenue from each of these passengers is mission-critical, given the beating the sector took in the last two years of sustained lockdowns. 

But is the airline industry capable of making the most of this resurgence in the number of corporate customers?

Legacy corporate booking solutions—airlines’ one-way ticket to revenue leakage and poor customer experience 

Airlines are subjected to high Global Distribution System (GDS) fees when they make their inventory available to travel agents and corporates through the distribution network. 

Aside from that, the GDS only allows airlines to share prices and schedules, leaving them unable to upsell with ancillaries, such as travel insurance, checked bag, priority bag drop, lounge access, priority check-in, etc.  

It is further worth noting airlines reliant on the third-party distribution of tickets to corporate customers can’t offer dynamic ticket prices and packages based on the customers’ purchase history and personal information. 

Making matters worse, airlines that rely on agencies like Travel Management Companies (TMCs) to get clients must pay exorbitant commissions, bringing down the carriers’ revenue from business travelers. 

As a result of all this reliance on external parties to distribute their inventory, airlines have no control over the revenue from this crucial segment. 

Reimagining corporate booking with a next-gen direct distribution platform 

To overcome all the pitfalls of the traditional corporate booking system, airlines desperately need a direct distribution system that offers an end-to-end self-service portal for corporates to seamlessly book tickets across multiple channels by integrating with the airline’s passenger service system and corporate Human Resources (HR) software. 

Such a solution will drastically transform the corporate customer experience, given that the business travelers can get ancillaries, discounted tickets due to non-reliance on the GDS, and further ensure that all their company policies are followed—all in a single platform.

Crucially, airlines will be able to handle multiple corporate accounts with the solution and provide their customers with curated offers and travel packages, leading to higher retention rates. Another way airlines can utilize such a solution to bolster corporates’ favorable view of them is by offering loyalty programs, the ability to book tickets in multiple languages, multiple currency options, etc. 

With the platform in place, airlines can potentially save millions of dollars by distributing their content directly to their target audience instead of depending on the GDS or travel agents. Business travelers will also enjoy the convenience that a direct distribution solution offers; corporate staff can book tickets straight from the airline, get approval from their management, and issue the ticket directly or via a travel management company within seconds. 

Since it is a self-service platform that supports mobile and desktop, airlines will have an easy time onboarding more corporates. Also, airlines can delight customers by bundling and unbundling fares, setting up specialized cancellation policies, allowing them to create and manage PNR directly, and enabling them to reschedule as well.

In addition, airlines can draw up pricing agreements with companies or groups of companies that belong to the same customer segment. Upon finalizing the fare, customers can access the booking portal to purchase inventory at the negotiated discount prices directly. As a bonus, the corporate can maintain a direct relationship with the airline, leading to better deals. 

However, the biggest benefit is providing interactive reports to your customers that outline how their business travel program is progressing. Details include whether employees adhere to the company’s business travel policies, how much is being spent, what trips need to be approved, etc. 


As business travel demand soars, airlines need to immediately figure out a way to provide their corporate customers with a direct booking tool that is cost-effective, easy to use, and personalized. With a solution like AgencyDirect, airlines can offer customers unparalleled ease in managing travel policies, self-booking & ticketing across multiple platforms, and trip approval workflows. The airline can also rake in unprecedented revenue due to the increased ancillary sales, distribution cost reduction, and betterment of customer experience. To witness the solution in action, schedule a demo by emailing

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