Case Study: BCD Travel´s group air services win gold with Visa at 2012 Olympics

Visa Inc., a global payments technology company, asked BCD Travel to provide them a specialized group air solution for the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Over 1,000 of their representatives were planning to travel from more than 52 countries around the world to the games.

It was a daunting challenge–and we needed to make it simple for them.

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The challenge

In the past, Visa had used multiple agencies to handle large group air movements. But these Olympics were different–Visa had more attendees than ever before, and all required VIP
service. Consistency was a top priority from start to finish–from planning and booking to managing blocked air space, tracking inventory, and delivering daily reports.

The solution

We’ve served Visa’s Olympic needs for years and have an excellent collaborative relationship with them, so they trusted us to do the job. We developed a year-long project strategy that brought together their global account manager, seven international BCD Travel offices, and a group of global events experts. This team worked with Visa’s Olympic event coordinator to plan and execute the Olympic air program with the power of one: one agency, one sourcing strategy, one planning and booking process, one central billing platform and one global consolidated reporting solution.

One agency

As the single provider for Visa’s Olympic air travel, we:

  • Assigned one point of contact, a BCD Travel meeting air coordinator, who provided direction to all of the offices making and fulfilling traveler reservations
  • Established office support teams to handle the booking process using preferences as noted in existing traveler profiles and creating new profiles as necessary
  • Implemented PNR mapping for security tracking through our proprietary DecisionSource tool
  • Set up dedicated phone lines specifically for BCD Travel regional and national teams to handle air reservations for this effort and communicate with air vendors to negotiate rates
  • Provided daily pre-trip manifests that went to the Visa event team to coordinate transfers for attendees

This solution gave Visa highly personalized service and global consistency which benefited both travelers and travel management through:

  • Convenience – travelers could make their reservations by calling local phone numbers during normal business hours, no matter where they lived
  • Comfort – travelers could speak to reservations agents in their local language
  • Duty of care – using our DecisionSource platform, we could easily track travelers and support them in the event of a crisis situation

Further expansion and framing will be based on return on experience and results. Mobility, door-to-door and extending the hotel program are the next steps to further improve traveler
experience.

One consistent process

Our team defined and implemented a standard approach across all phases of this movement to ensure our services were delivered consistently, down to the smallest details, including:

  • Designating all travelers as VIPs, which translated to a consistent level of personalized service
  • Producing a single set of global pre-trip reports, which the Visa and BCD Travel teams used to manage the movement, from coordinating ground transfers to tracking changes and
    identifying potential risks
  • Assigning a dedicated agent to communicate and coordinate requested side trips prior to and post Olympics

One central billing

We set up a centrally-billed Business Travel Account (BTA) for all attendees. This meant:

  • Travelers didn’t have to use their personal credit cards to purchase travel arrangements
  • Visa was able to easily reconcile their expenses and get a quick picture of their total spend

One global consolidated reporting solution

Visa got cost summaries and details of airline tickets, attendees and cost-savings from our proprietary reporting tool. They used these reports to:

  • See their spend–and savings–for this movement and set benchmarks to guide and measure future movements
  • Identify improvement opportunities for future movements.

The result

With our help, Visa delivered a superb travel experience to their representatives, centralized their billing for the movement, and got consolidated reporting. The complex became simple.