With corporate customers, Yapta loads its software into travel department booking systems. It doesn't charge for the service but takes a cut of the savings, usually about 35%, Mr. Filsinger said. With consumers, use of the tracking tool is free. Companies, like consumers, can set a threshold on minimum savings before an alert is sent, to take into account change fees and other expenses. The company recently launched a similar system to check for falling hotel room prices, but so far that's offered only to corporate travel departments and not consumers.
The bigger the fare, the bigger the potential savings, so travel managers say they have seen their most eye-popping results on international business-class tickets.
One Friday, Al Mazzola, director of travel services at Sykes Enterprises Inc., a Florida technology-consulting company, booked a $19,000 business-class ticket from Tampa to Shanghai and back, only to see it fall to $7,000 over the weekend. With the Yapta alert, the company grabbed the new price. "I was stunned. I've never seen savings like that,'' Mr. Mazzola said