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Managed corporate travel: What you don’t get with unmanaged business travel

11th October 2013

With the growth of technology and greater choice of different online channels, travel bookings are made more accessible to us. Business travellers seem to find cheaper flights and hotels on their own than companies’ own negotiated rates. As a consequence, some companies question the value of unmanaged travel vs. managed travel programmes. Yes, unmanaged travel programmes are tempting for some companies and business travellers. But, does this mean companies should abandon their managed travel programmes? – And, what about the risks of unmanaged business travel for traveller safety and your bottom-line? We’ll take a closer look into what unmanaged business travel really means and explore why managed corporate travel may be the right choice for travel managers and business owners.

What is unmanaged travel?

Unmanaged business travel, also known as ‘open booking’ allows business travellers to independently manage their own travel and book through any channel without having to go through a clearly structured booking process or online travel booking system (e.g. they book via airline websites, hotels and car rental providers, or consumer travel websites). Companies with an open travel management strategy typically capture their data through alternative technologies ranging from expense management systems to consumer leisure travel apps and services.

Managed corporate travel vs. unmanaged business travel:

Managed corporate travel vs. unmanaged business travel

Strong supplier relationships matter: With unmanaged business travel, you would typically book tickets through commercial websites and for instance book direct with airlines. However, you’ll find hidden fees, such as airport lounge access, fuel surcharges, and amenities fees. These charges are usually non-negotiable, non-reimbursable and not visible to travellers, leaving them to pay premium prices. BTN Group/TRX reported in Open booking: Is it right for your travel programme?(12/2012), that travellers spend 15-20% more when booking outside of their TMC. TMCs have consortium memberships, work daily with air, hotel, rail and car rental partners and are connected to global distribution systems. You get access to pre-negotiated rates with thousands of hotels, airlines and car rentals. You’ll benefit from discounts, waived fees and exclusive content that is often not available on leisure travel websites.

Managed corporate travel vs. unmanaged business travel

More cost control through greater travel insight: Data is king, especially in today’s era of data driven travel management. If you do not know how much your company is spending on corporate travel, you are missing out on a huge opportunity to improve the bottom-line. You can use travel data to influence negotiations with hotels and airlines for better discounted rates. If you consolidate and manage travel through a travel management system you will be able to collect and analyse real-time data through flexible on-demand reports. By letting your travellers book their business trips through a travel management company gives you access to detailed reporting data that will empower you to gain control over travel expenditure, provide insight into travel patterns and strengthen your position at the negotiation table.

Managed corporate travel vs. unmanaged business travel

Corporate traveller security & safety: Environmental disasters, train or airplane accidents, terrorist attacks… can have large impact on companies that are not prepared for crisis management. As travel manager you are responsible to ensure your business travellers get home safe and quick. Unmanaged business travellers can be difficult to track. Plus, in the hunt for cheaper flights, business travellers may risk ending up with options that do not meet minimum travel safety standards. Travel management systems with on-demand reports and online traveller tracking tools offer access to complete itineraries and information on the location of your travellers. In addition, TMCs have personnel that focuses 24/7/365 solely on the safety of your travellers. For instance, if needed they can rebook your flight quickly and ahead of time to avoid potential travel disruptions or other business travel related risks.

Managing travel is not about cutting costs; it’s about managing budgets, people and results too. With the need for employee safety and comprehensive expense management, having an assigned travel management company with a robust travel management system in place is more important than ever before. So, instead of taking the  route of unmanaged business travel, why not consider a managed corporate travel programme? – You save time, optimize cost and you have the peace of mind that your travellers are safe.

Flightline Travel is specialist in Business Travel Management

Flightline Travel Management offers business travellers first-class booking experience and helps travel managers to manage their business travel programme more efficiently. We provide personal travel agent support and modern technology walk hand in hand at Flightline Travel. Intelligent reporting and travel policy tools offer businesses a clear insight into travel expenditures, while improving traveller safety and bottom-line savings. Discover how our business travel management solutions can help you by calling 0844 3320174 or complete our business travel management contact form. We’ll be in touch with you within one business day.

What is your take on open booking? Let us know your what you think. Contact us as above, or Tweet us @FlightlineTrav1

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