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Things to consider before implementing an online self-booking tool for business travel

14th August 2013

Business travel agents ask the question: Should you invest in an online self-booking tool for business travel? When properly implemented a self-booking tool is fantastic. It helps to save money and achieve greater policy compliance while offering travellers convenient service features. Many companies struggle to move from offline to online booking processes. Particularly when managing complex business travel, traditional offline booking methods may often still be a better way to meet the needs of your business travel programme.

Recent developments in travel technology have made business travel agents online travel booking tools popular among businesses, with over 66% of business travellers being able to book online. In fact, recent study carried out by Amadeus (Global Distribution Booking System) showed that 53% of buyers are now seeing more than half of their bookings made through online-travel booking tools rather than traditional booking channels, such as phone, email or face-to-face. Here’s is a quick guide on how to implement an online travel booking tool

Business travel agents online self-booking tools

Set clear objectives…

  • Cost savings – For example, organisations can maximise cost effectiveness through non-agent-assisted bookings and reduce booking errors with real-time measures such as instant ticketing and up-to-date traveller profiles.
  • More efficient booking processes – For example, your travellers can save time when booking through well-designed processes, and have convenient 24/7 access to the online booking tool.
  • Booking options – Offer travellers more choice and flexibility in the way they book their travel. Travellers are often more likely to choose cheaper fares when they’ve been provided with a range of options and experience “visual guilt” or access cheaper booking classes by booking earlier.
  • Improved policy compliance – Online booking tools help your travellers to be more compliant with the travel policy, as such tools can be configured to display preferred options, flag out-of-policy alternatives, offer policy reminders or decline non-complaint bookings.
  • Meaningful Management Information – Business travel agents flexible and comprehensive reports and traveller tracking tools provide real-time intelligence and greater control over your business travel.

Make sure an online booking tool is appropriate for your business…

  • Who makes the travel arrangements for your employees? Do your travellers organise their business trip themselves or does someone else book for them? Companies with a lot of restrictions may find it difficult to move towards online travel booking.
  • Do the majority of your travellers own an email address?
  • Do your travellers have access to a computer, laptop, Ipad, etc.?
  • What kind of business travel requirement do your company & your travellers have? Look at travel patterns and analyse your historical travel data. For example, an online self-booking tool is ideal for simple and return journeys. However, if you have a lot of complex business travel arrangements, which involves five or more stops, then offline travel booking services may be better for you.
  • Do you have simple or a complex travel policy? The simpler your travel policy, the better it is using an online booking tool. For complex travel policies offline travel booking solutions are often more suitable.
  • What are your internal approval processes? Assess whether you organisation needs pre-trip or on-hold approval processes?

Decide what you want your online self-booking tool to do. Flightline business travel agents can customize your booking system to reflect your workflows. Below are some simple questions you can ask before implementing an online booking tool…

  • Do you require pre-trip approval for all bookings?
  • Which online booking services do you need to access? Flightline business travel agents have comprehensive experience in implementing integrated online booking systems for flights, hotels, car rental and business rail travel?
  • How often will your business travellers need to book accommodations in remote areas? What will be the processes for booking this kind of hotels?
  • Do you need a built-in hotel bill back process?
  • Do you need low-cost carrier bookings?
  • What payment methods and tools do you require?
  • How are you managing your travel expenses? Does the online booking tool need to be integrated with an expense management system?

You are ready to implement an online self-booking tool? Flightline business travel agents are here to help.

As leading independent business travel agents, Flightline Travel Management provides UK and global companies with intelligent travel technology solutions. Of our online clients’ an average of 83% of all their transactions are booked online, with  an average  adoption rate of up to 94% via our online self-booking tools.

Need more advice? Speak to a travel specialist today and call +44 (0)844 299 750.mAlternatively, complete our online enquiry form and we will call you back within 1 workday.

Watch the video – Tony McDaid about “The benefits of online booking tools from Flightline Travel

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