ARLINGTON, Va. – March 19, 2014 – ARC announced today that the Debit Memo Working Group, a cross-industry working committee established by the company, has elected to investigate standardizing debit memo terms and rules across travel industry sectors and providing improved training for those involved in the debit memo process. ARC created the Debit Memo Working Group, which is made up of air carriers, travel agencies, GDSs and service providers, to find a solution to the ever-burdening growth of debit memos between carriers and travel agencies. The group decided to focus on standardization and education last week during their meeting in Miami.
In 2013, there were 472,000 debit memos issued, totalling $169 million, with an average per-memo amount of $305. The top two reasons for debit memos, which make up 54 percent of the total amount, are commissions and fares and taxes. These statistics were obtained through ARC Memo Manger.
"It's no secret that debit memos are a growing challenge for the travel industry," said Shannon Keever, debit memo reconciliation manager at Altour. "So, it's refreshing to witness a collaborative effort by all parties to address debit memos and their impact on all of us. After examining a number of debit memo issues experienced by each of the various represented groups, we found standardization and education/training as common ground where all parties can make a contribution to begin the process of reducing memo volumes."
According to Doug Mangold, ARC managing director of product management, "When we first met in early 2013, the group prioritized commissions, fares and taxes, refunds and exchanges, and chargebacks as our main focus areas. We spent the remainder of 2013 digging into these issues and working on best practices, which we are already starting to share through programs such as our Chargeback Prevention Credit Card Acceptance and Fraud Prevention Seminars. Now, as we move further into 2014, we'll turn our attention to standardization and education."
Actionable items were outlined thanks to the cooperation and open dialogue between the meeting's participants, who represented diverse industry groups. "The Debit Memo Working Group has consistently shown how, given a common challenge, all interested parties in the travel industry can collaborate to find a solution," said John Pittman, ASTA's vice president of industry affairs, consumer affairs and research. "ARC should be credited with creating an environment where this type of work can be done in an informal and open way."
ARC powers the U.S.-based travel industry with premier business solutions, travel agency accreditation services, process and financial management tools, and powerful data analytics. In 2013, ARC settled $86 billion worth of carrier ticket transactions for more than 9,400 travel agencies with 15,000 points of sale. By providing world-class business services and products, ARC enables participating agencies and 191 carriers to focus on what's important - increasing their revenue. Established in 1984, ARC is headquartered in Arlington, Virginia. For more information, please visit www.arccorp.com.