Julien Etchanchu, Sustainability Practice Lead
Sustainable business travel is top of mind for many travel managers these days.
With the clock ticking on meeting global emissions targets, and an acknowledged need to be socially responsible, it’s time to bring sustainable practices to the forefront of your travel program. That includes sourcing, as using sustainable suppliers is a key pillar in Advito’s recommended approach to implementing a sustainable business travel program. Here, we look at how factoring in our new eQSI score can give you a better handle on sustainable air sourcing.
The State of Air Negotiations Today
Traditionally, air sourcing has concentrated on negotiating price and market share, with little emphasis on environmental factors. Price is straightforward. Market share is often based on QSI (Quality of Service Index) which is the equivalent of FMS (Fair Market Share). FMS considers factors such as schedule, length of trip, aircraft type, number of seats, time of arrival/departure, and whether a flight is direct or not.
The quality of the network also affects an air carrier’s FMS. For example, if Carrier A and Carrier B are on the same route using the same aircraft with the same journey time, and one flight each per day, the FMS will be 50% for both. If Carrier A has two flights and Carrier B only one, then Carrier A’s FMS will be 67%. But if Carrier B has more seats, then FMS will increase for that carrier.
In our experience as business travel consultants, airlines often overestimate their own QSI or FMS. In the example above, if you added the FMS calculated by each airline, the total would likely be higher than 100%, which means something’s not totally accurate. That’s why, at Advito, we’ve created our own proprietary QSI ten years ago to give our clients an unbiased look at market share during air sourcing engagements. Now it’s time to take that one step further as environmental concerns start to take center stage in creating travel programs.
The Environmental Factor
Going forward, suppliers’ environmental performance has to be a factor in the negotiation and RFP process. To help, we have developed the industry’s first environmental quality of service index (eQSI). This adds aircraft performance data to previous metrics and allows you to have an unbiased look at market share during sourcing engagements. Aircraft performance is an objective input since newer aircraft emit less CO2 than older models, which means you can definitely factor this into your considerations. As a result, airlines that are prioritizing investing in new aircrafts will be recognized for taking action. Our hope is that this will accelerate fleet renewal, making air travel more sustainable overall.
How the eQSI Works
Effectively, the eQSI takes aircraft efficiency into account, rewarding more sustainable carriers with a higher score. In our original example, two carriers with identical aircraft, journey times, routes, and number of flights would each have a 50% market share. But when adding sustainability as a key measurement, if carrier A has a more efficient, sustainable aircraft on that route than carrier B, then Advito’s eQSI would recalculate their score to 60%, and drop carrier B’s to 40%. In other words, carrier A’s market share increased because they are operating an aircraft that results in less carbon emissions than carrier B on the same route.
Benefits of the eQSI
The new eQSI will help you make objective decisions during your sourcing negotiations with airlines to support your overall sustainability strategy. Using this methodology will help you account for environmental performance in negotiations before signing a contract in the RFP process. For suppliers, the eQSI will shine light on those who are making the investment to update their fleet.
Advito is already helping clients communicate to their travelers the importance of considering environmental impact when booking a trip. With eQSI, you can adopt the same mentality during the air RFP process. Beyond the traditional factors of price and market share, you can now also consider how potential suppliers will support your emissions reduction goals.
A New Approach to Air Sustainability
We consider our new eQSI the best tool in a travel manager’s arsenal to begin looking at sustainability while building their program, rather than waiting until contracts are in place to get started. Going forward, we’ll recommend the eQSI as a standard component of air sourcing engagements.
Our goal is to further contribute to the push toward sustainable business travel, by helping clients reduce emissions while creating engaging experiences for their travelers, and by challenging the industry to take sustainability seriously and putting pressure on airlines to accelerate fleet renewal. We strongly believe the industry needs to move quicker to a more sustainable model, and we believe this kind of approach is a move in the right direction.
Contact us to learn more about integrating eQSI into your air RFP process.