As the needs of corporate travelers evolve, airlines have had to expand the products they offer to their business travelers. Air Canada is one example of an airline that has realized the need for upping its offerings to these valuable customers and the corporate travel managers responsible for them.
As Vincent Gauthier-Doré, director of business development for Air Canada USA explained, the airline approaches its corporate travel offerings through customization and flexibility, working to meet the specific corporate travel requirements of every type of company, no matter its needs or size. “We have a compelling value proposition that includes financial benefits for corporations to do business with Air Canada,” said Gauthier-Doré. “We make sure we have travel amenities that are unique and customized for each traveler program.”
Air Canada Signature Class Is the New Premium Business Class
The airline’s new and refreshed business class for transcontinental and international customers, which has been rebranded as Air Canada Signature Service, offers concierge service that ensures that the customer journey is seamless, simple, and enjoyable. Onboard enhanced services in Air Canada Signature Class include the introduction of a new champagne, a wine selection curated by award-winning sommelier Véronique Rivest, a new amenity kit, a mattress pad for the cabin’s lie-flat beds, and an elevated onboard experience.
At Toronto Pearson International airport, a BMW chauffeur service carries select Air Canada Signature Service passengers connecting between domestic and international flights, and its new Signature Suite includes a premium pre-flight dining experience available to select Signature Class passengers, with dishes from award-winning chef David Hawksworth, and a full bar featuring Moët & Chandon champagne and Diageo cocktails.
Building Loyalty Through the Air Canada for Business Program
Corporate travel managers at small- to middle-sized businesses can manage their employees’ Air Canada travel through the affinity program and intuitive online corporate booking, tracking, and reporting tool, Air Canada for Business. This “one-stop shop” lets them book business travel, reserve cars, and manage and share itineraries for multiple employees, all while keeping track of both travel expenses and program rewards. It’s free to join and offers savings on flights and perks to enhance the travel journey, such as lounge access, upgrades, preferred seating, and other benefits.
Through Air Canada for Business, travel planners can book not only Air Canada but also its partners in the Lufthansa group, connections on United Airlines, and partners such as Avis, Budget, and Breather to enhance each touch point of the travel journey. They can also export itinerary information directly to the Microsoft Outlook calendar.
Using the Air Canada for Business tool, travel managers can customize what they make available to their business travelers, and how travelers can redeem and manage their perks.
Air Canada for Large Corporations
Gauthier-Doré said the company invests a lot in how it interacts with its corporate clients. “That’s another way we differentiate ourselves from other airlines,” he explained. “Corporations are looking not only for financial savings, but also for more flexibility, travel amenities, and a customized approach so their employees have a better travel experience.”
To gain commitment on share and revenue from enterprise companies, which provide the highest yielding and most consistent passengers, Air Canada for Corporate offers programs uniquely designed for an enterprise corporation’s needs. It allows in-depth account management for a consultative and customized approach to managed business travel. The goals are to create a premium business travel experience, maximize savings through benefits and discounts, and help corporations keep staff happy through quality loyalty programs and travel experiences.
“We try to have the flexibility that every company expects,” he said. “We go in with an open mind to really customize what every client wants and needs for their travel program. It’s that flexibility that makes us stand out.”
Business Travelers’ Needs Have Changed
Gauthier-Doré said the trends are toward more technology –– especially e-commerce –– and travel managers wanting more information about their employees’ travel habits through data and reporting, which gives them more oversight of the travel experience.
“We have more digital touchpoints now, which allows more insight and flexibility,” he said. “We also have a mobile app that provides a real-time upgrade list. It’s all about making sure we’re communicating as efficiently as possible.”
The carrier also offers the convenience of an expanded global network. Air Canada is a member of the Atlantic Joint Venture, which includes partnerships with Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, Lufthansa, SWISS, and United Airlines, spanning 16 hubs across Europe and North America and operating more than 10,000 daily flights to more than 570 destinations.
“From a North American perspective, together with our transatlantic joint venture partners and our network,” he said, “we provide a lot of flexibility for our customers booking flights.”
“Maybe the schedule and connection works better for them to travel in one direction with Air Canada, and then come back with Lufthansa or United,” he said. “We are the only transatlantic airline that provides such a robust domestic and transatlantic network. There’s no joint venture that’s comparable.”
To learn more about Air Canada’s corporate travel offerings, visit aircanada.com/businesstravel.