Daily Disruption: Trading Places
Travel isn't just leisure – for the millions of businesspeople who travel across the globe daily, it's an absolute necessity. While they may hail from different industries and may be headed to different locations, they all seek to get an edge in the same three factors at the end of the day: comfort, prices and punctuality.
Take Rachel – she's all set for a business meeting that has suddenly been organized at the last minute. However, she finds herself trapped as there is no available flight to her destination at the desired time. Necessity is mother of innovation, but also I believe necessity is mother of compromise. Rachel is ready to compromise on two of the three basic needs of an air traveler: comfort and price. But what she can't compromise on is time.
On the other hand, Shana is all set for her casual visit home. What brings these two totally unconnected people together is the fact that she has planned her travel exactly on the same day as Rachel.
Now this may seem like a coincidence, but the sheer volume of air travel that occurs in the world today means that this scenario happens daily. So despite the fact that there is a way out for Rachel, her lack of real time information means that all she can do is wait for someone to cancel or pray for an upgrade.
This begs an interesting question - can Shana give away her seat for Rachel if requested? Okay! Let us put it in a different way - will Shana give up her seat for Rachel if offered something better?
What if we were to create a solution that allows Rachel to request her air supplier for an availability for the specific time, date and flight. She will also be able to provide her maximum budget (if any). This request is captured and a message is initiated to a random group of passengers on the flight requested.
The message initiated to the passengers would come with an alternative date, which might be a day or two before or after the original flight time. This should be presented with the quoted fare. The fare should display a comparison of benefit based on the original fare as well as the discount the person with the available seat would be getting in return for giving their place. The discount would then be projected as an additional cost to the requesting passenger.
The passengers would then have the option to accept the offer and confirm the changed booking. A refund would be initiated upon acceptance as a cashback deal or direct refund.
On the other hand, the requesting passenger (Rachel in our case) will receive a confirmation with a fare.
Now let's see how this keeps all parties happy,
Shana, is satisfied because she earned a good discount and potential for an upgrade with little disruption to her initial travel plans. Rachel, is happy because she now is able to travel at the expected time and save her million-dollar deal with a comparatively minimal charge.
Moreover, the supplier is happy as well because the price projected to Rachel and the discount to Shana had a mark-up in between and may feature a convenience charge as well. An application like this, which would match available supply (Shana's Case) with critical demand (Rachel's Case) would have tremendous value to a very large number of people.