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

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