In the past, the leisure travel industry embraced web and mobile technologies-offering everything from great user experience, to ratings and reviews, to discounts on optional services. Corporate travel evolved at a slightly slower pace, and business travelers were left as to what appeared to be significantly fewer choices. Now, that gradual development is picking up speed in the face of intensifying consumer expectations.
People traveling for business today often book their hotels online using a supplier website rather than utilizing their company’s booking platform, perhaps unaware that the company booking platform provides carefully negotiated discounts at “preferred” hotels. Only 29% of travelers book hotels concurrently as air, and 50% of most business travel hotel/accommodation stays are booked beyond the company’s hotel program. Why?
Two big factors drive many business travelers to book from policy: they need an even more engaging user experience and they question whether approved booking channels will meet their demands.
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For a long time, the corporate travel management companies faced significant barriers to meeting traveler expectations while consumer-facing online travel agencies built impressive user interfaces calculated to create sales conversions. Unlike leisure travel, corporate travel requires complex business rules and should curate content from multiple resources for properties and rates. New technology has removed a lot of the previous barriers for business travel. Inspired by the most popular apps and internet based booking sites, new hotel booking technology from the corporate travel industry allows busy travelers to look for and book rooms in a few clicks on any device.
Similar to their consumer-targeted counterparts, the most up-to-date business travel booking tools come with a highly-visual experience which allows travelers to get a feel for a house before you make a reservation. Unlike tools for leisure travel, the newest business travel tools meet specific needs of corporate travel programs. They identify negotiated rates at preferred properties, may be programmed with rate caps for specific cities, and may implement travel policies for multiple kinds of travelers.
BCD Travel’s TripSource Hotels, for example, offers a consumer-grade user experience that factors in all of the complex rules associated with a corporate travel program. It fully integrates properties and rates from global distribution systems, hotel booking aggregators,and on-line travel agencies. Travelers get access to a thorough collection of hotel properties, including independent and boutique selections, from multiple hotel booking agents.
The platform offers multiple search options, including hotel name, neighborhood, amenities and ratings. In addition, it provides property photos, interactive maps, globally recognized ratings, mobile and booking capabilities-along with agent support and the cabability to track while keeping travelers safe. Moreover, agents and travelers both shop and book utilizing the same platform. Both use the same business rules returning exactly the same properties and rates, regardless of who’s booking.
“We understand that there is not any such thing as rate parity across content channels without any single source to get the best hotel properties and rates. TripSource Hotels creates a single result display identifying properties and rates from multiple content sources.” said April Bridgeman, SVP of BCD Travel. “We launched with a few key content dexkpky62 and definately will continue expanding these people to ensure global travelers always have great properties to choose from irrespective of destination.”
It’s no secret to whoever has traveled on business the very last a few years: business travel has excelled at supporting travel managers while lagging in traveler satisfaction. Given that technologies have removed barriers previously dampening the traveler experience, the emphasis is shifting. But it might be an error in judgment to conclude that added traveler satisfaction comes at a price for the corporate travel program.
The Renaissance of economic travel isn’t just about making travelers happier and more productive-it gives companies an opportunity to influence travelers for the first time. You can find big paybacks for firms that influence travelers to create better shopping decisions.
When you know how travelers are shopping and what they’re booking, you can influence those decisions for savings and duty of care purposes. The greater bookings channeled with the travel program, the more effective the complete rates. Those negotiated rates are like an insurance plan companies can fall back on when spot rates exceed them.