Navigant International customer Watson Wyatt is reporting significant commercial benefits just five months after implementing a self-booking policy. The professional services firm is making 64 percent of its bookings online using Sabre Travel Network’s Corporate.Res self-booking tool. It has experienced “considerable” operational and financial efficiencies through improved compliance with company travel policy, better fare selection and lower booking fees.Watson Wyatt has 86 offices in 32 countries. From using an in-house travel office of three air consultants little over a year ago, the company now has 180 associates in the United Kingdom booking their business travel online, while continuing to benefit from corporate rates agreed with Navigant.
Watson Wyatt approached Navigant in July 2002 to investigate how to make better use of technology to update its business travel booking operations. Within three months the firm had established a partnership with Navigant and Sabre Travel Network to introduce Corporate.Res, and implement an intensive training programme across the organisation.
The business benefits became immediately apparent - from the first day of implementation in June 2003, 25 percent of bookings took place online. September this year saw online adoption figures of 64 percent, exceeding all expectations.
Aside from the immediate cost benefits, the culture change has been marked according to European purchasing manager Alastair Watt.
“Our people have taken on personal responsibility for the financial commitment of booking travel, which means they comprehend the cost of travel to the organisation and where possible, adjust their arrangements accordingly. Watson Wyatt will always consider the merits of introducing new technology where appropriate for the business. Introducing Corporate.Res has kept the firm at the forefront of business travel booking and delivered secondary benefits such as improvements to our general ‘housekeeping’ in order to make best use of the product.”
While straightforward flight, hotel and car hire arrangements can be self-booked online, Watson Wyatt deals directly with Navigant consultants for more complicated itineraries.
“The support from Sabre Travel Network and Navigant has been tremendous - from the initial planning to bespoke implementation and training of our staff in the UK, to day-to-day system support for individual bookers,” Watt said.