Companies offer web-based reservation systems
By Lindsay M. Hitch, Assistant Editor
Flight planning and service arrangements can be quite a hassle as multiple phone calls become necessary. Five companies are introducing online reservation programs to help flight departments and FBOs decrease time spent on the phone and increase service request accuracy.
Where does the average business fit into the world of e-commerce? Many business owners may not be aware of the opportunities for expanding business on the World Wide Web, or perhaps they’re just not sure where to begin.
"Basically, we identified a need to bridge the gap between flight departments and FBOs," says Molly Delk-Wood, sales manager of business aviation for Valley Oil Company.
Signature Flight Support’s vice president of e-commerce, Steve Lee, echoed Delk-Wood’s sentiments, commenting that the goal of the Signature reservation system is to allow for more effective, easier communication.
The creators of these programs all had one thing in mind: to decrease the amount of time flight departments and CSRs spend on the phone, and in doing so increase customer service by enhancing CSRs’ accuracy and efficiency. Customers will be able to place an order any time of day without being put on hold and know that the request won’t be lost on a scrap of paper. Service providers will receive orders electronically, allowing CSRs to focus on the customers there in person.
The basic design of each system allows the flight department to provide all the necessary information to the destination FBO through a traceable electronic network. Flight departments must register basic company and aircraft information with the individual programs prior to service. All are designed so that participating FBOs receive electronic notification of the service request and in turn send back a confirmation to the customer.
"The program is designed to be an easy way to send us a reservation," John Enticknap, president and COO of Mercury Air Group, says of Easy Turn, "and there’s plenty of backup in the system to make sure that we get it and it’s followed through."
The programs are designed to accommodate revisions, with the understanding that plans often change many times before the actual flight and service occur.
"Obviously the reason someone has a corporate or business aircraft is to be flexible to their schedule, and so this gives the industry the tools to communicate that information and those changes in a standardized flexible and efficient format," says Ed Wassom, vice president of sales & marketing for TheAviationHub.
Ground transportation, fueling, catering, hotels, and other FBO service orders are standard in each program. Essentially, everything that pilots and their passengers need to further their business and travels can be requested through the reservation systems.
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