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How to... implement an online travel-booking tool
Should you invest in an online travel-booking tool for your business? For many, it’s a fantastic way to save money and improve policy compliance. For others, more traditional booking methods may better meet the needs of their travel programmes.
Recent improvements in the technology behind online travel-booking tools have caused a surge in demand. In fact, CWT has implemented over 300 online booking tools in the UK in the last 3 years. Here’s what you need to consider before investing...
Make sure you have clear objectives...
Savings - achieved through reduced transaction costs or visual guilt (a concept that sees bookers choose the lowest fare when presented with options on-screen).
Booking options - giving travellers more flexibility in the way they book their business travel.
Management information - greater control for your business through reports and traveller tracking tools.
Greater policy compliance - an online booking tool can ‘police’ your policy for you.
Next you need to look at your organisation itself and assess whether an online booking tool is practical.
Do the majority of your travellers have access to a computer and their own email address?
Are your employees empowered to make their own travel arrangements? Organisations with a lot of red tape will find it hard to go online.
Could your IT infrastructure handle it? Do you have reliable internet access?
What kind of travel need do you have? An online booking tool is perfect for simple, return journeys, but if your itineraries often involve five or six stops around the world an online tool may not be the best solution.
How complex is your travel policy? Simple policies suit online booking tools, while more complex ones are often better suited to offline booking methods.
Do you need to build in pre-trip or on-hold approval? One of the main barriers to online adoption is pre-trip approval. Customers who have complexities built into their tool achieve an average adoption rate of 26%, compared to 35% for those with no complexities. Consider a ‘passive approval’ approach, such as allowing the approver to receive confirmation of the booking once made.
Think you’re ready to implement an online travel booking tool?
Great! Now you just need to decide what you want your online booking tool to be able to do. CWT can custom-build your system according to your needs – use the questions below to help you decide what these are...
Is pre-trip approval required for all bookings?
Is access to rail bookings required?
Are low-cost carrier bookings required?
How often will your travellers need to book non-GDS hotels?
Do you need to incorporate a hotel billback process?
What other payment mechanisms do you require?
Will the tool be integrated with an expense management system or profile tool?
Some comments from online travel-booking tool users
"Through mandating our booking tool we have achieved a 98% online adoption rate, which has
53% savings on transaction costs in 18 months."
Michelle Gresham, Purchasing Advisor, Student Loans Company
"We found pre-trip approval delayed the booking process, especially if a manager was based
overseas, Following the removal of existing complexities, we achieved an impressive adoption rate
Wendy Prosser, PerkinElmer, EMEA Finance