The following is ARC President and CEO Mike Premo's response to Bill Poling's report about ARC's monthly air data.
As industry observers are aware, we at ARC have taken pains in recent years to improve our accessibility, engagement and responsiveness to the concerns of our many stakeholders — starting with our biggest constituencies of airlines and travel agents.
Those efforts have not gone unrecognized, including kind words from Travel Weekly, which all of us here truly appreciate.
In this vein, the recent article by Bill Poling calling attention to some of the challenges in understanding ARC’s monthly statistics is another opportunity to modernize and improve.
Bill’s analysis was on-target that the way we label some elements of our monthly statistics could easily be misinterpreted. As I said in the article, “I accept that fact.”
However, we won’t stop with acceptance.
The primary purpose for which we publish our monthly statistics is to illustrate the overall commerce being done via ARC in the U.S. between airlines and travel agencies.
The U.S. remains the single largest air travel market in the world, and we want our data to clearly illustrate the critical contribution of travel agencies to airline sales activity.
Therefore, beginning with September’s publication of ARC’s industry statistics, we will add specific definitions for all fields used in displaying our statistics so as to eliminate any misunderstanding about the data’s meaning.
Additionally, we will state the amount of airline fees separately and also provide a total of the charges related to ticket changes and refunds. These were the two specific items Mr. Poling suggested be added for additional clarity.
I want to thank Bill for calling this to our attention and for giving us another chance to show how ARC is changing.
Further, I want to let your readers know that we also intend to add additional categories to our report in the future as industry developments like merchandising are made available to travel agencies and processed via ARC by means of the new Electronic Merchandising Document (EMD).
I hope that we can look forward to a Travel Weekly editorial recognition of how ARC is an example of how we need not be our industry’s “own worst enemy”!