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Booking tool benefits when arranging company travel for staff

How does your company book business travel? Is it each traveller to him or herself? Or do you have a PA or someone in HR who looks after everything?
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Whichever of these sounds familiar, if you book over 150 flights a year, then you could be making huge time and money savings by using a self-booking tool to manage your company travel.

Self-booking tools can improve the efficiency of your company travel policy, improve your business’s productivity and reduce your corporate travel spend.

Studies show that, on average, business travellers carry four devices, so it’s increasingly important companies embrace travel technology that meets the needs of their business and travelling workforce.

Whether you’re a travel booker, approver, traveller – or all three – a self-booking tool can provide the perfect solution to your travel management needs.

(1) Straight to the point 

If your company books at least 150 flights or transactions per year, which are straightforward point-to-point routes, you should use a self-booking tool (SBT). Primarily, this applies to domestic or European routes – London to Frankfurt, for example – although more businesses are now using SBTs for long haul, point-to-point travel, too.

(2) Keep it simple

An SBT is ideal if your firm’s company travel bookings don’t involve complex itineraries or frequent changes. More corporates are becoming aware of the cost of changing tickets post-departure. An SBT helps drive the behaviour that, once booked, it’s more difficult to change.

(3) Save time and money

If you are looking for cost savings on transaction fees and airfares, then an SBT should deliver. Online tools can drive airfare savings by up to ten per thanks to visual guilt: a traveller is more likely to opt for a cheaper airfare if it’s staring them in the face on the screen rather than coming from a voice over the phone.

This is particularly true if the SBT is set up so that the traveller has to declare why they don’t want to book the cheaper airfare. SBTs also save time by streamlining the booking process, allowing users to book air, hotel and car hire all in one place, eliminating the need for multiple web pages and long phone calls.

(4) Increase employee efficiency

An SBT eliminates the need for an in-house travel booker, allowing PAs and EAs to focus on their day jobs. Travel management companies provide training to ensure everyone knows how to use the technology to get the most from it.

(5) Bespoke service offering

Corporate SBTs have evolved recently to offer a personalised experience by storing personal information for each traveller, such as their unused ticket credits, frequent flyer information and preferred suppliers.

(6) Ensure duty of care

Pre-trip approval features ensure any risky or unconventional company travel plans are shut down before they can be booked. Companies can designate different levels of approval and functionality to users. Responsibility is then delegated appropriately and decision makers are held accountable for their travellers. Traveller tracking and risk alerts allow companies to easily locate and contact travellers to warn them of any potential threats.

(7) Travel policy compliance

Complete configuration of your company travel policy restricts users from booking travel that is not compliant. This may mean only showing content from preferred suppliers or removing options that are above price limits, for example.

(8) Improve data capture and reporting

Access to benchmarking data and travel reports provides regular guidance and advice on how to increase the value of your company travel programme. Advanced business intelligence tools offer strategic account analysis to identify new savings opportunities and benchmark your contracts against similar companies. This ensures you receive the best possible deals.

Stuart Birkin is director of account management at Corporate Travel Management

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