Corporate travel has undergone a huge amount of changes recently, the most crucial being the advent of comfortable access to airfare via the internet. As increasing numbers of travelers found value in better control of their schedules using the internet, many organizations loosened their travel policies to allow for travelers to book on their own online. This perceived advantage to travelers has actually cost businesses considerably with regards to lost productivity, deficiency of power over unused tickets, and deficiency of use of airline programs that can save the corporation significantly in most areas of travel.
Can we agree that online travel booking, while advantageous in many ways, has not been all we had hoped it will be through the outset? I hear stories from travelers each day regarding how difficult online booking can be, and how even when using the internet, travelers simply cannot be sure they may be receiving the best fare. This uncertainty gnaws at travelers and coordinators, and for good reason. It is not easy to become certain of what you are actually getting online because there is no history of success, without any degree of trust between the organization as well as the travel provider.
Collaboration between your organization plus your chosen travel management provider is critical. This collaboration will reap benefits to your company in terms of a greater working relationship and an anticipation of the current and future needs as they relate to the constantly changing corporate travel environment.
Centralized travel needs to produce a comeback in the interests of the business travel agency, and also the sanity of travelers and travel coordinators. Because all distribution channels have access to exactly the same fares and rates, you can find fewer reasons today to continue a decentralized travel policy. Executive level buy-in is critical, and you can easily allow travelers to maintain the degree of control they like while still requiring travel booking throughout the preferred corporate channel. Most conventional agencies now offer online booking solutions that can be customized to meet the needs in the unique corporate travel policy.
The advantages of centralizing travel again are numerous. Here is a comprehensive, but most certainly not an exhaustive, listing of reasons to regain control of this important but under-scrutinized budget. It can certainly have a positive effect on your enterprise and its ability to serve your clients and improve traveler morale.
Many corporations discover that the best solution is a mix of booking options, with many having an online booking portal supplied by their agency partner, as well as real live agent help when travelers are pressed for time or convey more complex travel itineraries. The important thing in my view would be to re-examine the travel program from every angle. There trave1usa more airline programs available to businesses than in the past. New opportunities to save money and streamline processes are out there for yourself. United Airlines recently began offering a deduction away from every fare for corporate partners. That includes cheapest coach class seats, which even many Fortune 500 companies do not possess access to. This is only one example of under-publicized opportunities for the company that could be had through the old-fashioned agency relationship.
It’s time we took another pass on the corporate travel program to discover where efficiencies can be obtained and savings opportunities can be uncovered. Your travelers and coordinators may even get returning to what they’re actually paid to accomplish. Deal with your clients and propel your organization forward.