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RPA: Powering Transformation for Travel Industry

RPA: Powering Transformation for Travel Industry
March 26, 2020

What is RPA?

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is the use of software with artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) capabilities to handle high-volume, repeated tasks that previously required humans to perform. These tasks can include queries, calculations, as well as maintenance of records and transactions.

Key Business Drivers

The changing dynamics of the travel industry have made it a very challenging place. With multiple suppliers and ever-evolving passenger experience, travel management companies are always on edge to provide measurable value to their travelers. On-demand invoice generation is a vision that is sought by both corporations and travel management companies. This can only be achieved when there is automation in the travel industry.

With time, travel management companies have grown from just managing travel requirements delegated by individuals or corporations. They are now partnering with corporates in their overall organization travel management objectives of reducing travel cost and providing expense management and visibility on fare structures. The focus areas of a travel management company are:

  • Reduce end-to-end booking times
  • Reduce missed fares and tax-driven agency debit memos
  • Ability to personalize
  • On-the-go settlements

Industry Facts

The 2019 global industry survey, conducted with leading corporate travelers and travel management companies, gave the following results:

If you research and book all your travel components from one platform, would you prefer to do that, or would you prefer to investigate options and book each separately on your own?

one platform

Do you book your business travel through a central or corporate online booking tool or directly with travel service providers?

Online Booking

If you book directly, what is the goal as a traveler one is trying to achieve?


The key observation from this survey are:

Key observation

Fare Construct

Capturing of fare elements is a time-consuming activity and open to errors, especially when there is a ticket, refund, or exchange and void. Precision in commands is necessary to ensure we avoid any fraud or errors while performing the same.

Quality Prospective

Agency Debit Memos (ADMs) are cumbersome tasks. 50% of ADMs that are ranging between $250-300 are because of incorrect fare-construct (including taxes) and commission inputs basis the fare bases code inputted by the travel management company.

50% of ADMs that are ranging between $250-300 are because of incorrect fare-construct (including taxes) and commission inputs basis the fare bases code inputted by the travel management company.

According to ARC data in 2017, for every $577 in ticketing value, a $1 debit memo is created. This is better news compared to 2018, which had a $609 to $1 ratio. While this may seem like an insignificant amount of money, the difference does matter. This is because, in extreme cases of fraud or chargebacks, ADMs come with a hefty price tag.

The Strategy

The rate of development in RPA blended with AI/ML is continuing to ascend. As a result, firms in the travel supply chain sector need to develop long-term strategies for how best to take advantage of this emerging travel technology.

The travel industry has just seen RPA deployment with the right mix of AI/ML. The sector is very quick to adopt technology, thanks to its razor-sharp focus on margins. However, the scope of RPA in the travel space is still underexplored. In fact, technology-driven by innovation is imperative for the travel industry from both B2B and B2C standpoints.