Companies with high frequency travellers see a growing need for a single online booking tool (OBT) platform
Customisation, education and surpassing a consumer-grade experience are important to improving OBT adoption
Alexandria, Va. – June 4, 2019 – While 92 percent of travel managers say they have already adopted online booking tools, there is a growing need among businesses to create a more efficient and streamlined booking process. According to “Booking Tools and Technologies: One Size Does Not Fit All”, the new global survey of corporate travel buyers from the Association of Corporate Travel Executives (ACTE), underwritten by American Express Global Business Travel (GBT), 80 percent of respondents say it’s important that all channels are integrated into one platform.
A large majority (81 percent) of respondents say they have a mandate in place requiring travellers to book travel through company tools and platforms, with 5 percent admitting adoption is currently lower than 10 percent. This indicates that, despite corporate policies, there are still real challenges and a need for ongoing education when it comes to user adoption.
Education to drive adoption
Low rates of employee adoption may be due to a lack of internal education on how to use the tools. Less than half (47 percent) of respondents communicate regularly with employees about their booking tools. Perhaps even more surprisingly, 8 percent of travel managers surveyed say their organisation has never communicated with employees about booking tools – not even during the onboarding process.
Correcting misinformation among employees
Employees might not understand the true value of using OBTs to book corporate travel, resulting in lower rates of compliance. Thirty-nine percent of travel managers say the primary reason employees aren’t booking through a company’s OBT is that travellers believe they can get a better price and save money elsewhere.
Individuals are increasingly using highly integrated platforms and technologies for online and mobile shopping, which furthers the expectation that OBTs should have the same user-friendly functionality. Only 11 percent of respondents state that chat and instant messaging (IM) channels are currently being used to book travel, but more than a third (35 percent) plan to add them as options for travellers in the future. This data reflects a desire to keep pace with consumer retail trends and an opportunity for the industry to strive to surpass them – something travel managers and technology providers should consider.
Travel managers who are worried about low rates of OBT adoption expressed concerns about duty of care (56 percent), employees booking outside of company policy (56 percent) and missed opportunities to save money (55 percent).
As every business has different travel-related needs, 90 percent of travel managers say optimising their OBT platform for company policy and preferred options was moderately to extremely important.
“Travel managers should be wary of evolving traveller expectations. The booking experience needs to be highly flexible and should look and feel like it does when they book personal travel,” said Fitzgerald Draper, Director of Research with ACTE. “While customisation and finding the right fit are important facets of a company’s OBT selection, users must also understand the platform’s value and functionality. Travel managers should look for ways to market the selected tool to their travelers, including all the benefits that come with it.”
Evan Konwiser, VP of Marketing and Product Strategy, American Express Global Business Travel, said: “Booking through OBTs is a critical part of the travel experience and should be channel agnostic and ubiquitous wherever a traveler wants to be. For a travel program to work, companies need to implement tools that are intuitive and delightful to use, while deploying a marketing toolkit to reinforce why the program is good for them and the business.”
Download the full report here.
About Booking Tools and Technologies: One Size Does Not Fit All
The Association of Corporate Travel Executives (ACTE) polled 202 corporate travel buyers from around the world from 6 March to 15 March 2019 for Booking Tools and Technologies: One Size Does Not Fit All. The study asked travel managers about the preferences and behaviours of their employees to assess how they interact with their organisation’s online booking tools. The research asked questions to assess the state of business travel in 2019, the rise of online booking tools and organisations’ satisfaction with these booking tools and was carried out with support from American Express Global Business Travel. For more information, visit this link or contact [email protected].
About ACTE Global
ACTE Global (Association of Corporate Travel Executives) has a 30-year reputation for leading the way corporate travel is conducted. As a global association comprised of executive-level members in more than 100 countries, ACTE Global pioneers educational and technological advances that make business travel productive, cost-effective and straightforward. ACTE Global advocacy and initiatives continue to support impactful changes in safety and security, privacy, duty of care and compliance along with traveller productivity that supports global commerce.
Learn more at www.acte.org.
About American Express Global Business Travel
American Express Global Business Travel (GBT) is the world’s leading business partner for managed travel. We help companies and their employees prosper by making sure travellers are present where and when it matters. We keep global business moving with the powerful backing of 17,000 travel professionals in more than 140 countries. Companies of all sizes, and in all places, rely on GBT to provide travel management services, organise meetings and events, and deliver business travel consulting.
American Express Global Business Travel (GBT) is a joint venture that is not wholly owned by American Express Company or any of its subsidiaries (American Express). “American Express Global Business Travel,” “American Express Meetings & Events,” “American Express,” and the American Express logo are trademarks of American Express and are used under limited license
Learn more at amexglobalbusinesstravel.com
Association of Corporate Travel Executives
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American Express Global Business Travel
KWT Global (on behalf of American Express Global Business Travel)