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​How to land a deal without even trying

July 12, 2018


By Timothy Lahti
Director, Price Tracking, Carlson Wagonlit Travel

Everyone likes a deal.

No matter what you’re buying – or how much money you have – a deal’s a deal. The sweetest deal of all is one where you don’t even have to lift a finger. No haggling. No comparison shopping. No need to set up a vigil as you religiously check whether prices have come down enough for you to make that purchase—before it sells out.

Wouldn’t it be great if you can buy what you want, when you want, and just wait for the savings to roll in? Sure, that might still be a dream for that gleaming set of golf clubs you can’t quite justify to yourself – but for flights, it’s a reality now.

We call it Price Tracking. It’s a clever piece of software that tracks air and hotel prices from the moment you book until 24 hours prior to the reservation. That’s a lot of time to be looking for savings. So travelers can book early knowing that savings that can be found will be found, minus the waiting.

Price Tracking combines the best of man and machine.

Once you book a flight or hotel room, the algorithms that power Price Tracking get to work behind the scenes sizing up prices as they go up and down—in real time.

When it finds a better fare, Price Tracking sends an alert to a CWT travel counselor who makes sure that any update to the reservation will result in net savings, even after possible change fees. The flight or hotel is then canceled and rebooked at the new, lower rate. The traveler receives an updated itinerary, but everything stays the same—except for the price.

Implementation is simple, and once the program is set up, it’s automatic and maintenance-free. Approximately one in 20 itineraries are rebooked at a lower rate, while up to 2% in savings can be generated on total air and hotel spend. So a company that spends $1 million on travel can pocket $20,000, without breaking a sweat.

Now, that’s a deal.


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