Best Practices for Online Booking Tools
For over 15 years, Online Booking Tools (OBTs) have been a vital part of corporate travel. They provide increased traveler efficiency while reducing the overall cost of a travel program. OBTs help companies improve policy compliance and give travelers freedom to book on their own schedule. The success of an OBT can often hinge on how experienced your TMC is when it comes to implementation and best practices. A knowledgeable TMC can ensure that you get the most out of your OBT and integrated booking technologies.
Update your Policy
Before any OBT implementation, or periodically through your contract, the company travel policy should be reviewed and updated to reflect changes in corporate culture, savings goals, or industry trends. These policies will be reflected in the configuration of an OBT and will help guide your travelers to make smarter booking choices. Your TMC can help guide you in what should be included in your policy and where revisions can lead to savings, cost avoidance, increased compliance, and better duty of care.
Many online booking tools include features such as pop-ups to notify a traveler of an out-of-policy booking choice or options to configure reason codes when such bookings may be necessary. Take advantage of all of the options that can make the experience of booking a reservation easier for your end user traveler. For instance, SAP Concur offers the ability to automatically reserve a rental car with one of your preferred suppliers while booking an air or hotel reservation, without the hassle of clicking through extra pages. It may seem like only a few minutes of time, but those few minutes certainly add up. This can reduce frustration for any weekend warrior.
Encouraging travelers to book through your TMC’s online booking tool is a great way to increase the adoption of your preferred suppliers. Often, travelers who call in a reservation, or book outside the TMC, will choose the airlines or hotel properties with which they are familiar. While using an OBT, the traveler can see all of the preferred content at once with the best vendors starred or featured in some way. This method is certain to increase the use of said vendors and eventually lead to increased negotiating power.