The number of business travel bookings made on the Internet in Europe is growing substantially, according to online corporate travel leader GetThere, a Sabre Company.
Caption: Richard Adams, GetThere`s newly-appointed vice president and
general manager for Europe, has highlighted a surge in the European usage of
self-booking tools for business travel.
It estimates that until recently only one percent of all European business trips were booked online, but says 2002 quarterly growth statistics point to a recent surge in usage.
says its customers in Europe were consistently booking 2,000 business trips a month until January this year. Booking figures for quarter one, however, shot up by 93 percent against the same period in 2001, while quarters two and three showed a 130 percent and a 259 percent year-on-year growth respectively.
Richard Adams, the company`s general manager and vice president for Europe, said the growth was due primarily to substantially increased adoption within GetThere`s existing European customer base.
“While our new business successes have been good, this growth can only indicate that companies are realising the efficiencies that online booking systems can offer, and that there is a greater acceptance of mandating online booking”.
Mandating is where companies make the use of an online travel booking system compulsory.
“We tend to see greater levels of mandating, though, during tough economic times”. Adams said.
“This is because the efficiencies inherent in an online corporate travel booking tool are best realised when everyone is using the system. Customer surveys have shown that booking online frequently generates a 15 percent saving on ticket prices, and savings in travel management fees of approximately 50 percent. This can result in savings of up to £80 for a typical business trip.”
Greater adoption of the system also results in greater compliance with corporate travel policy, including use of preferred suppliers, which in turn gives companies greater bargaining power when negotiating with travel suppliers like airlines, hotels and car hire companies.
Customers of British business travel management company BTI UK share Adams’ view. Three-quarters of the delegates surveyed at BTI UK`s 2002 annual client conference said they expected the number of business travellers using self-booking tools to increase.
Adams said there was huge scope for further growth in the European market for corporate online travel bookings, both in terms of increasing GetThere`s share of the existing market, and in terms of boosting the size of the market itself.
“The growth figures we are seeing at the moment are positive indicators that there is significant opportunity in both regards”. Adams said.
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