Southwest Adds Self-Service Business Customer Portal

Southwest Aircraft at airport | Image by Shutterstock

Southwest Airlines plans to launch a new online travel portal in a bid to give more control to customers traveling for business.

The new self-service booking feature, Southwest Business Assist, will provide small and medium-sized businesses and travel management companies (TMC) more control over their corporate flight scheduling, the airline announced last week at the Global Business Travel Association Convention (GBTAC) in San Diego.

The service will become available on August 24. Specialized features will include a user dashboard, automated processing of contractual benefits, travel funds management, expanded sustainability reporting, and up-to-date account performance, according to the company.

“We hear from travel managers and TMCs that they need more self-service,” Vice President of Southwest Business Dave Harvey told Business Travel News. “It’s one more step to make it easier to do business with Southwest.”

The upcoming introduction of Southwest Business Assist follows July’s announcement that the Dallas-based airline would ditch the expiration date for all existing and future flight credits.

Southwest is not the only airline looking to build loyalty among its small and medium-sized business customers. United Airlines and Delta Airlines have made similar moves to keep business clients, announcing comparable actions at GBTAC.

Doreen Burse, senior vice president of worldwide sales for United, stated that corporate customers are moving away from “the one-size-fits-all contracting model that has become standard across the industry.”

To encourage businesses to travel with United instead of other airlines, the carrier plans to launch its Business Blueprint platform later this year. United stated the platform would help corporate customers customize their travel programs.

For its part, Delta moved to rebrand and combine all of its business travel tools, products, and services into a platform called Delta Business. The airline described the approach as a one-stop shop for all business travel needs.

As airlines look to increase their share of business clientele, one industry insider who attended GBTAC said the new programs were “nothing earth shattering.”

Claiming instead that the airline platform revamps are merely a bid to entice smaller businesses to commit to a certain airline as many larger companies still have not returned to pre-pandemic travel levels, according to travel industry news site Skift.

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