Corporates adopt self booking tools

Consulting services and flat-structured organisations where senior management lead by example, are among the companies achieving the highest levels of adoption of Self Booking Tools (SBTs). 

This is according to new global research commissioned by Amadeus, a global leader in technology and distribution solutions for the travel and tourism industry, and undertaken by the Business Travel Research Centre at Cranfield University.

The research, which was conducted with over 400 companies worldwide, looked at the adoption rate of online travel management tools.  While the study confirmed that Self Booking Tools (SBTs) are helping some organisations save considerable time and money when booking business travel - on average 25.6% of Travel Management Company (TMC) fees and a further 9.1% on airline ticket spend - many companies are not achieving the full benefits of SBTs due to an online corporate environment not supported by senior management.
Dr Keith Mason, Business Travel Research Centre at Cranfield University said “Moving to a self booking culture has been, and still is, a long journey for many organisations to make despite significant cost benefits which can be achieved in the very first year of adoption.  Given these potential savings, it is remarkable that 38% of organisations in our study do not yet enforce a travel policy which recommends online booking.
From an industry sector perspective, SBT adoption levels within Consulting Services and Logistics Companies reached a high of 67% and 65% respectively, however public utilities and agricultural companies achieved far lower adoption rates of just 10%.
Across all organisations the corporate culture is also a key determining factor for how successful SBT adoption is.  The report specifically identifies three Corporate Clusters which paint a picture of the type of organisations most, and least, likely to successfully adopt SBTs:
. Wholehearted Adopters - average adoption rate 81%

. Bureaucratically Hindered - average adoption rate 45%

. Laggards - average adoption rate 12.3%
Furthermore, the study revealed that companies with a ‘self-service’ mentality, where employees manage contracts online, has been more successful in driving up the adoption rate.  Age is also a factor with younger travellers more willing to ‘do it themselves’.  A flatter organisational structure, managerial buy-in and preaching by example, also positively affected the use of SBTs, as did a wide choice of content, where users could clearly view a variety of options including, access to flights and fares from low cost carriers.
Commenting on the findings, Jerome Destors, Commercial, Director, Amadeus e-Travel said: “Amadeus has commissioned this global study to better understand a topic which had not been covered in depth until now - how corporate culture influences the adoption levels of SBTs. This research is another example of Amadeus’ continuing interest in providing useful insights, strategies and solutions to corporations and TMCs: for corporations, the report provides insights into how companies are achieving high adoption rates; for our TMC partners, the findings of the study will allow Amadeus to deliver improved and integrated technology in order to enhance their overall efficiency.”
The study further revealed that companies with a lower travel spend of under $2.5 million per year have been the most successful at driving travel bookings via SBTs, suggesting that the lines of communication between the travel manager and corporate travellers are much shorter and therefore the advantages of using the booking tool are easier to communicate.  Additionally the pool of travellers is smaller meaning word-of-mouth communication is likely to be quicker.
Time is also an important factor with highest level of adoption seen in the first year of implementing an SBT.  Companies can expect to achieve approximately 40% of bookings online in the first year, but then the rate of adoption slows to an additional 10% in years two and three as each progressive level of adoption becomes harder to achieve.