The debate over whether the Internet can truly eclipse the telephone for business travel bookings may be coming to an end, based on results from the 2003 Annual GetThere Corporate Benchmark survey. In GetThere
‘s global survey of more than 100 large corporations respondents reported that online bookings averaged 53 percent of their total bookings.
This is the first time that GetThere’s annual survey has shown that online bookings are outnumbering those made by telephone, demonstrating that businesses are seeing widespread internal adoption of their online booking systems.
For the third year in a row companies reported significant cost savings from online booking. This year companies indicated that average airfares booked online were 15 percent lower than those booked over the phone, and average travel agency service fees were nearly half as low.
“The 50-percent online adoption milestone has been watched by many people in the industry because, at that point, online bookings become the primary method for booking corporate travel,” said Jeff Palmer
, GetThere’s president. “This year’s survey is the strongest evidence of that trend. And the cost savings that companies have reported for the third year in a row should provide companies a clear motivation to book online.”
The survey also indicated that four in every five companies have implemented controls in the first half of the year to limit employee travel to certain regions due to the war in Iraq and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).