ARLINGTON, Va. -- ARC disclosed that it is working to facilitate
daily sales reporting through its Internet-based IAR Interactive
Plus system as early as next year.
ARC president and CEO David Collins said, "It is not a change
that is going to happen overnight."
As part of the effort, ARC said it also intends to clamp down on
agents that report fraudulent voids.
ARC said it would open a dialog with travel agents through its
Joint Advisory Board-Airline Reporting Agreement and other agent
forums, to discuss the plans for daily reporting and voids.
Both initiatives are being pressed by the airlines, which want
better sales data as they struggle to overcome a soft travel market
and significant financial losses, particularly in wake of last
year's terrorist attacks.
According to Collins, under the current sales-reporting system,
it typically takes two weeks before agency sales reports are
transmitted to the airlines.
"In this day and age, you need data on your desk the following
day on what went on the day before," Collins said in an interview
If ARC and agents don't keep up, he added, the airlines could
shift to a different distribution system, as they already are able
to get such data from their other sales channels, such as Web
They could "put more of their effort into different distribution
channels," he said. "I want to make sure that the airlines see [ARC
and agents] as an attractive way of doing business."
Along with daily reporting, ARC is working on new procedures
designed to bar agents from voiding certain sales transactions. The
new procedures could be implemented by the middle of next year.
Collins said fraudulent voids cost the airlines millions of
dollars each year. Many often involve agents voiding cash
"We are not going to eliminate the void capability," Collins
said. "We recognize errors take place. What we are talking about
here is shortening the void window."
News of ARC's plans, particularly for daily reporting, will
likely be greeted with some acrimony within the agent community,
which has long suspected that IAR -- "initially a voluntary program
before it became compulsory" -- would eventually lead to daily
reporting. Over the years, ARC repeatedly denied that it had such
plan in the works.
Collins reaffirmed that ARC never had daily reporting in mind
when it launched IAR.
"I have been on public record many times that the end game of
IAR was not daily reporting," Collins said. "That statement remains
true to day. The end game of IAR was to convert the paper reporting
system to an electronic reporting system. And we have reached the
end game. There was no hidden agenda. But what has gone on in the
past few months has changed everything."
Look for additional details on this article in the Nov. 18
issue of Travel Weekly.