Business Travel Management: 6 ways to improve online adoption of online booking systems
19th September 2014
When it comes to reducing business travel management costs many companies tend to implement or accelerate the usage of online booking systems, as it has been the case in the recent years. At the same time, today’s modern travellers are used to the convenience of online travel booking in an increasingly self-service environment.
You want to book a flight? Simply book online. You want to check-in for your flight? Simply do it online, via your mobile device or use the self-service travel kiosk at the airport. You want to book a taxi or car rental? Don’t worry, there’s already a mobile app available. It’s faster, easier and more efficient in every respect. In short, technology has transformed many aspects of our lives, including the way we plan and book travel – all done with a click of a button. So, it is no surprise self-service technologies and innovations are at the forefront of the key business travel trends, with corporate travellers demanding for more easy-to-use online self-booking tools and personalised business travel services. Ideally, from a traveller’s perspective, the online booking tool would provide the same convenience corporate travellers enjoy when they search and book travel themselves online via the web.
So, why do many implementations of online self-booking tools still fail, when it comes to achieving the desired online adoption rates? Well, although the benefits of online booking tools are well-known and widely acknowledged amongst business travel buyers and arrangers, it is often one or more simple steps which can prevent you from achieving success in your online business travel management programme.
Here are 6 tips to help you improve online adoption rates in business travel management
Step 1: Understand the drivers of online adoption
Factors that affect online adoption are not only economic pressure and traveller demand. We also recommend you consider your corporate culture, the company’s travel patterns, and managerial buy-in. Some useful key questions to consider should be:
- Does your company culture embrace change? A self-enabling, process-focused company culture, which is accepting of mandates and embraces the use of online technology, usually is a good starting point.
- What are your company’s travel patterns? Are the majority of your bookings made up by ‘simple’ point-to-point travel, or do you book a high number of complex business travel bookings? Simple point-to-point bookings are typically most suitable for online reservations.
- How do you secure managerial buy-in for implementing an online booking system?
If you answered, the above questions with ‘yes’ then you are almost set-up for implementing an online self-booking tool as part of your business travel management programme. If you answered, with ‘no’ to the above questions then you may wish to investigate further and consider a solution which integrates a more personal agent-assisted offline booking services or a combination of both. Find out more about how to implement an online travel booking system.
Step 2: Set clear objectives
By setting clear objectives you ensure that you are able to measure the success of your online booking programme and can immediately take corrective actions if needed. So make sure you know your objectives, whether it is achieving more cost savings or developing more efficient processes, whilst improving the booking experience for travel arrangers.
Step 3: Engage employees at the earliest opportunity
For example, by pro-actively involving main users in the implementation process and in the pilot phases, you can ensure all online booking tools, required travel policies and business processes are configured with your travel bookers and corporate travellers in mind; which in turn ensures you will implement an online booking solution that meets your travellers and travel bookers evolving needs. As a result, you can better manage user expectations and maximise online adoption levels. This in turn will ultimately make a positive impact on the performance of your business travel management programme.
Step4: Ensure effective communication with employees
Communicate regularly, clearly and pro-actively with bookers and travellers. Explain to employees why the tool has been deployed, why it should be used with the benefits to them by providing comprehensive training. This is crucial for overcoming objections or concerns employees may have and help you gain employee buy-in for smooth business travel management. Plus, if the stakeholder communication is driven from the top of the organisation with full support from senior management, then it is even more effective. For example, companies using Flightline business travel management services, benefit from a comprehensive training programme, with access to a wealth of training resources such as one-to-one and group workshops, online training webinars, offline or online user guides or training videos.
Step 5: Make use of employee incentives
Use league tables that compare departmental adoption rates, rewards for using the online tool or communications to non-compliant bookers are useful tools to incentivise employees, when mandates do not fit your company’s culture.
Step 6: On-going monitoring and review
Regularly analysing and reviewing accurate reports is critical to understanding travel booking trends, and empowers you to identify opportunities for improvements early and implement changes in time, before they may have negative impact on your business travel management programme.
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Flightline Business Travel Management, helping companies make the most of their online booking systems
Flightline Travel Management is one of the leading independent business travel companies headquartered in the UK. From our European corporate travel centre, we are delivering smart business travel management solutions. Our e-travel management platform integrates advanced business travel technology and superior agent-assisted services for global business travel. Companies using our online travel management systems and service solutions from Flightline business travel agents achieve some of the industry’s highest online adoption rates and traveller satisfaction levels. At the same time corporate travellers can take advantage of a convenient, 24/7 self-booking environment they now expect. To find our more, call us on 0844 332 0174 or enquire online. We look forward to hearing from you.