Thursday 31 January 2019

GUEST BLOG: It’s time for OBTs to put the traveller first

Do you remember when online travel agents (OTAs) became a ‘thing’? You didn’t have to scour through brochures any more, or go into town and sit down with someone face to face, or wait on hold for ages to book over the phone. It was bliss, right? You could just open the web page, search, book, pay, job done.

That must have been, what, 15 years ago? But even back then, before sites became so much slicker and quicker, there was no user guide, no manual, no one-to-one training session needed to help you navigate the site. Even 15 years ago, booking trips online was pretty self-explanatory, obvious and straight forward.

And then, with the explosion of the Internet and mobile technology, things just got easier and easier. We now use technology for everything, not just for booking flights, hotels and train tickets. We buy groceries and clothes online, order flowers, watch TV, play games… and that’s before we’ve even mentioned the screen time our eyes burn through on social media.

What this means is that we’re incredibly savvy and demanding technology consumers. We want the technology we use to deliver a seamless, frictionless and omni-channel experience. And we want the simplicity, convenience and immediacy we enjoy from lifestyle sites to be replicated in the tools we use for work.

So, why then, are some online booking tools still so ugly, clunky and off-putting to use? Surely, in this era of travellercentricity, there really is no excuse for not delivering an OBT that’s been built with travellers in mind. After all, a happy traveller is also a more productive, empowered and loyal employee.

There are benefits for travel managers and bookers from having access to a good OBT, too. Encouraging online adoption among travellers can drive compliance; if the technology you/your TMC provides is as easy to use as a leisure travel booking tool, it goes without saying that travellers are more likely to use it. Load it with your travel policy and supplier preferences, and it will also tempt them away from going rogue.

When travellers use your OBT to book online, you can track your team, which leads to enhanced traveller safety and improved duty of care. It also means, should anything happen, you can change a traveller’s itinerary quickly and easy and then communicate those changes with them one on one or to the whole group.

At Traveldoo, we are part of the Expedia Group, which means we have an army of experience delivering consumer-focused travel technology solutions and our online booking tool is designed to mimic the Expedia booking experience. Simplicity is at its heart and our mantra is ‘three clicks to book’. Now, you can’t get much easier than that, can you?

This blog post was written by Sam Cande, Traveldoo UK country manager. Traveldoo is exhibiting at the Business Travel Show, which takes place at London Olympia from 20-21 February. You can register for a free visitor pass at

Wednesday 30 January 2019

GUEST BLOG: Travel management of the future – three ways predictive analytics can transform your programme

“If you can look into the seeds of time, and say which grain will grow and which will not speak then unto me.” If you're a fan of Shakespeare, you will recognise this quote from Macbeth.

Since the beginning of time, humankind has been obsessed with predictions. Fortunately, nowadays we don't need to rely on oracles or witches of any sort. We have powerful algorithms that allow us to predict the future and even change it.
How cool is that?

At CWT Solutions Group we have gone a step further when it comes to data management and created a powerful crystal ball to improve travel management and find new ways of saving.

How did we manage that? By integrating traditional travel data with public information on commodity prices, macroeconomic indicators, weather and even holidays. All of these are then analysed to identify patterns and correlations, generating robust predictions for a company’s future spend, specifically the number of trips and cost per trip.

Thanks to these insights, our clients can make small changes to travel policies and supplier programmes that can lead to great savings – up to 10% even.

If you also want to save that much, you can apply our tailored predictive modelling to your travel programme by focusing on three key stakeholders: your travellers; your internal stakeholders - like directors, management, and finance teams - and your suppliers and procurement team.

When it comes to your travellers, you want to control costs, ensure your caps are matching the market conditions and make sure they use the right suppliers. To achieve these, you can:

·       Communicate with defined traveller groups to let them know about price increases. Avoid non-compliance and encourage them to take actions to remain within the travel policy rules.

·       Recommend the use of an alternative supplier or suggest they postpone the trip to other dates if they have flexibility in their travel plans.

·       Blacklist suppliers expected to have fares increase, or with forecasted limited availabilities.

·       Pro-actively adjust caps, upwards or downwards in order to drive your travellers towards suppliers not subject to rate increase.

Internal stakeholders are also key actors in your travel program equation and you want to support business leaders with budget planning and intelligence on future costs. You can make vast improvements in these areas:

·       Better advice on the most relevant actions to take for their travel budget, especially if a destination where your company has business projects has been impacted.

·       Insights on travel trends.

·       Location for team meetings.

And, last but not least, you have your suppliers and the procurement team. Here you want to be proactive when negotiating rates, and understand what market trends are likely to occur. To achieve that, you can:

·       Use predictive analytics to adapt your negotiation strategy before, during and after agreements renewals.

·       Make your supplier program better by managing the number of suppliers. You can do this by adding more suppliers, fares, classes, rate types, or ancillary and amenities and focus on the areas expected to increase.

·       Adapt your negotiations targets and caps.

·       Review your contractual goals (volume, market shares) set by the suppliers and monitor that your negotiated classes or rate types are available.

·       Ensure your online booking tool matches your negotiation strategy and predictive analytics outcomes.

Follow these steps and become a true king of travel management – skipping all the drama of Shakespeare's masterpiece.

Blog author: Jim Lungu, Data Scientist, CWT Solutions Group, who will be exhibiting at Business Travel Show on 20-21 February at Olympia London. Secure your free ticket now at