There’s no doubt that technology is a critical element of managing business travel and clients are demanding more innovative tools and automation to meet the needs of their increasingly tech-savvy travellers. But corporates shouldn’t necessarily rush to implement a self-booking tool as this type of technology may not suit everyone. First, consider the following five reasons for adopting an online tool:
1. If your company books at least 150 flights/transactions per annum which are straightforward point-to-point routes?– primarily this applies to domestic or European routes (London-Frankfurt, Manchester-Paris for example). However more corporates are now using SBT’s for long haul point-to-point.
2. If you are looking for cost savings on transaction fees and airfares Online tools can drive airfare savings by up to 10 per cent via visual guilt. A traveller is more likely to take a cheaper fare if it is staring them in the face, rather than being told over the phone, especially If the self-booking tool is set up correctly, so that the traveller has to declare why they might not take a cheaper fare
3. If the nature of your company’s business travel doesn’t involve complex itineraries, or frequent changes. More corporates are becoming aware of the cost of changing tickets post departure. An online tool helps drive the behaviour that once booked, it’s more difficult to change.
4. If your travellers prefer to book their own travel – this is particularly relevant for the Millennial generation who want to do everything via their smartphone and a self-booking tool provides the facility for booking on the move. CTM’s new proprietary online booking tool ‘Lightning’ has been designed with this demographic of business traveller in mind, with a fast, intuitive interface that brings a consumer-style ‘shopping cart’ approach to the corporate booking process. A self-booking tool can also tackle leakage. If travellers tend to go rogue and book on internet sites, the tool provides the online experience they are looking for, but still captures all the data the corporate requires.
5. If you have a TMC that can support your bookers/travellers with training. A good TMC behind the scenes is essential. The TMC can provide training, reporting on adoption levels and identify non-users. A TMC can, in most cases, bolt on an approval tool so the corporate can be assured that trips remain within policy.
Stuart Birkin is director of account management, Corporate Travel Management.
CTM will be demonstrating ‘Lightning’, the TMC’s new proprietary online tool on stand B520. www.travelctm.co.uk. CTM is exhibiting at the Business Travel Show, 22-23 February 2017, Olympia London. Register for a free visitor pass at www.businesstravelshow.com