European business travellers continue to book an increasing number of trips online, according to GetThere. Despite a global downturn in business travel, the company today reported a 204 percent leap in the number of European bookings during Q1 2003, compared with the same period last year.
These figures reinforce a trend. GetThere
‘s booking figures for Europe shot up by 250 percent in quarter four last year against the same period in 2001, while the first, second and third quarters showed 93 percent, 130 percent and 259 percent year-on-year growth respectively.
The trend was also borne out by the 2003 edition of GetThere’s annual Corporate Benchmark Survey
, released last week. This survey showed that 53 percent of business trips, made by employees of more than 100 sample companies, had been booked through a corporate online system. More than a quarter of the travel spend by those companies in the survey was incurred outside of North America.
Richard Adams, GetThere’s vice president for Europe, discussed these latest figures at a customer meeting in London today.
“Increasingly we are seeing cases of companies in Europe where telephone bookings are becoming the exception, not the norm,” he said. “Although corporate Europe’s use of online booking systems still has some way to go before reaching the elevated levels we see in North America, the trend is there and it’s encouraging.”
Adams says challenging economic times are boosting the use, and adoption, of online self-booking systems in Europe. Travel managers and company executives are also becoming more receptive to the concept.
“When cost-cutting pressures emerge from a hundred different angles, it tends to focus the mind. Those responsible for travel budgets in Europe’s big-name businesses are talking to each other and learning that the savings are real. It’s having a huge effect.”
GetThere says its systems frequently generate 15 percent savings on ticket prices, and savings in travel management fees of approximately 50 percent. This can result in an average saving of more than £80 for a typical business trip within Europe. The systems also help ensure 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.
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