According to PhocusWright, 48% of travel bookings worldwide are made on the Internet. Online travel agencies, airlines, and hotels have given birth to a new consumer profile –which corporate travel planners should understand and keep an eye on.
Metasearchers, flash sale sites, and booking engines that enable users to search destinations and services based on affinities or interests are just another turn of the screw on this progressive change in consumers’ behavior and this is beginning to influence the corporate travel environment.
Flash sales sites and metasearch engines are especially popular and have increased in use among the general public thanks, to a large extent, to television advertising. Though, metasearchers do have significant limitations for corporate travelers as they are designed for leisure trips.
Some of the key saving tips for corporations (compliance with the corporate travel policy, automated expense reporting processes, data analysis, negotiations with travel providers…) are elements obviously far beyond the realm of a metasearcher.
However, no matter how focused on leisure travel they are, metasearch engines and other leisure players could certainly extend their benefits to business travel and corporations.
But how is that possible?
It is well known that self-booking tools not only lead to more efficient travel management, but may also help achieve savings from 5% to 8% in travel expenditure (this fact, in addition to the implementation of a proper corporate travel policy, may also lead to 23% savings in travel expenses).
Corporations face, however, the challenge to achieve a high level of adoption in order to get the most from useful online tools.
Proper training, support from top management, involvement of some groups inside the company (why not let department assistants play a leading role?) are the main factors for success in the implementation of online booking tools in corporations, yet there is something we tend to forget: the more we go online to make our leisure travel arrangements, the more inclined we will be to use a self-booking tool.
Metasearch engines, flash sales websites and mobile apps focused on leisure travel are sometimes the best ground for corporate tools. After all, sometimes corporations follow the well-trodden path of leisure travel, and that is an advantage that all involved in corporate travel should realize and take advantage of.