Web-based programs offer convenience, more to FBOs
by Jodi Prill
In April 2001, AIRPORT BUSINESS reported on ecustomer service systems. Since that time, feedback and advances in technology have altered these programs and they have transformed and continue to affect the way FBOs are served and how they, in turn, serve their customers.
"We believe technology is going to be very important in helping our FBOs do their business better, more successfully, and more cost effectively," says Keith Sawyer, manager of brand and new business development for ChevronTexaco Global Aviation.
In late 2001, ChevronTexaco began offering its FBOs TotalGA’ (www.totalga.com), within which is an online version of its accounting software, TotalFBO’. Steve Graber, who handles advertising and promotions for ChevronTexaco Global Aviation describes Total GA’ as a "onestop business center.
"It allows [FBOs] to go online and get all of their financial information about their dealings with us in regards to invoices, price change notifications, and EFT [electronic fund transfer] notices. This information can go back into archives and also assist their accounting people."
Designed specifically for general aviation, TotalGA’ also provides FBOs with crew and passenger services, insurance quotes, information on market trends and events within the aviation community, while also allowing users to search through classifieds for the aviation marketplace, join in aviation discussion boards, and more.
In the past year, there have been several improvements and additions to the site, according to Graber. "It’s like any Webbased offering, it’s continuous improvement that’s going on. As we learn more and more what the FBOs want, we’re able to improve and refine it."
Some additions that are currently available on TotalGA’ include subscription services for weather informa tion from Universal’s 24hour weather operations group and Flyte Trax, powered by FlyteComm, which allows FBOs to track general aviation and commercial flights on any and every computer within the FBO.
These additions and updates will allow ChevronTexaco FBOs to do much of their daily operations from one system. As Sawyer explains, "[TotalGA] will become how we do business before too long."
SIGNATURE FLIGHT SUPPORT
Signature Flight Support is also using the Internet to better serve its customers. Signature’s program, ConciAir’ (www.signatureflight.com) allows flight departments to communicate with the FBOs they are using on their travels to procure necessary services with just a few clicks of a mouse.
"It allows them to notify the FBO of their arrival, to request services for the aircraft, such as fueling, overnight hangar, parking space…transportation, hotel, catering, or any other services they might need while on the ground," says Steve Lee, senior VP of marketing and business development.
In the nine months ConciAir’ has been operating, about 300 flight departments have signed up for the service. "I think customers almost instinctively see the advantages and uses of it," Lee says.
Based on customer feedback, Signature is currently implementing a rapid reservation aspect to the site, which Lee describes as, "kind of a way to short cut some of the full features of the system—just to take advantage of certain elements." This streamlining of the Web pages benefits flight departments that may only require a few of the services the FBO can offer.
MERCURY AIR CENTERS
Mercury Air Centers has been operating its Webbased reservation system, Mercury Easy Turn’ (www.mercuryaircenters.com), since January 2000 and in that time it has also altered its site to reflect the comments of users.
The most demonstrative change Mercury has made to the site, according to Ron Jackson, president of the marketing communications agency that developed the concept for Mercury Easy Turn’, is that customers are now able to return to the home page and change anything on their initial record, without having to start over.
A current upgrade Mercury Easy Turn’ plans to have operating by midsummer is making the choices that are offered on the site more regional — particularly catering. For instance, Jackson explains, if a customer needs to go to Bedford, MA, the selection of caterers would include seafood — Bedford being known for its great seafood. Or, if travel is taking a customer to Nashville, TN, caterers specializing in barbecue would be among the choices. "We’re trying to offer the local tastes, if you will, along with the standard fare," Jackson says.