GetThere announced today that 35 percent of its UK customers are now mandating use of corporate self-booking tools. The company predicts that by 2007 the figure will have reached 50 percent, as a weakened economic environment, consolidation and cost savings influence more corporations to automate travel management and mandate booking online.
The growth prediction for the UK market comes shortly after GetThere announced the results of its fifth annual Corporate Travel Benchmark Survey, which tracks business travel patterns at America’s leading corporations. It revealed that 65 percent of travel reservations at corporations surveyed are made online, a five percent increase on the previous year. It also revealed that trips booked online averaged 49 percent lower agency fees and 14 percent lower airfares - representing approximately $100 (£60) in savings per booking.
Floyd Widener, European vice president of GetThere and corporate travel at Sabre Travel Network, said: “The UK market is still behind the US in terms of online adoption. However, when we started GetThere in the UK seven years ago, we never could have imagined what our corporate customers would accomplish with online booking and the millions of pounds they would save as a result. UK companies using GetThere are achieving between 50 - 80 percent online adoption within their first three months of usage and reducing their overall annual travel spend by over 15 percent.”
To help UK travel managers drive adoption rates higher amongst their own business travellers the company has issued some on-line booking tips written specifically for the end user. These include practical advice to help streamline the booking process and increase employee productivity:
GetThere’s ten online booking tips for corporate travellers
* Your company’s travel policy and preferred supplier relationships are likely to be dynamic. Not only is it important to book within policy, which includes supplier preferences, it’s also essential to keep abreast of the changes.
* If you undertake a certain trip regularly remember to save the trip template to speed up future bookings.
* Even if you are a seasoned traveller ensure you are using the correct airline codes. For example the correct code for Singapore Airlines is SQ not SA, Alitalia is AZ not AI, Czech Airlines is OK not CA as commonly believed.
* Next time you are on an aircraft take a look round at the best seat locations. Remember that you can pre-reserve these seats when making your next booking. Seatguru.com is also a good reference for preferential seating by aircraft type and contains useful comments.
* Don’t be tempted by Web fares on airline direct sites, they might be slightly cheaper but booking out of policy will cost your company in the long run. Booking in policy also means your company knows exactly where and when you are travelling - a key learning from the terrorist activities of the last few years.
* The most advanced online tools enable travellers to book all elements of their trip including hotels, car rental, and if your company has negotiated it as part of their travel policy, even limos and corporate jets. To save time when you get to your destination pre-book as much as possible.
* 30 percent of tickets issued are exchanged, which carries a fee. Make sure that you really do need to change your trip. If travelling on the same day consider ‘stand by’ options instead of purchasing a new ticket.
* Even in these days of high tech you might find yourself in a destination where you can’t log on or use your cell phone. To guard against this always carry with you a print out of your itinerary and your travel agents contact details in case you need them to change a reservation. Remember to add the email addresses of family members, executive assistants, etc. to your profile so that they can immediately be notified of your trip details.
* Share what’s working for you with fellow executives to ensure that they become as skilled at booking on-line, and that your company can maximise its travel spend and on-line adoption rates.
* Finally, keep a note of how much money you have personally saved your company. Use it to your advantage when you next have a review with your manager!