At its annual European customer meeting in London this week, GetThere
outlined plans to supplement traditional travel content available in its corporate self-booking systems with a wide range of other options drawn from the Internet and individual travel providers.
First developments are scheduled for European release in August this year. Vice president and regional general manager Richard Adams said access to a wider range of travel content was essential to the continued success of self-booking systems for business travel.
GetThere will draw content not only from the Sabre, Abacus, Amadeus, Galileo and Worldspan global distribution systems (GDSs), but will use new technology to take bookable content from the Internet and the internal systems of individual travel providers. It will make travel options from all these sources available on a single screen, and fully bookable within the GetThere system. Until now many business travel self-booking systems have been able to display web-only fares, but have had to drop travellers at third-party websites to make these particular bookings themselves.
Adams said details of new European Internet and supplier-direct content would be announced during the third quarter of this year. It has already announced a deal with rail booking company TheTrainline to provide UK domestic rail content.
“A journey between London and Paris is a perfect example of the challenge that corporate self-booking systems now face,” Adams said.
“Historically, we could have drawn most of the available travel options between these two cities from the GDSs. Today, however, this route is serviced by three GDS-serviced airlines, several no-frills carriers and Eurostar. To meet evolving needs, corporate self-booking systems need to offer all these booking options.”
Alan Dean, e-enabling programme manager at KPMG, welcomed this initiative. “Additional content from low cost carriers and rail operators will truly make the system a one-stop shop for our corporate travel needs, and appeals to us greatly,” he said.
At the customer meeting, several GetThere customers presented case studies on how best to implement corporate self-booking systems, and how to drive up levels of internal usage. Board-level commitment, understanding differences between European markets and corporate cultures, and effective internal communication were all identified as key factors in success.
A poll of the companies present showed that travel monitoring and employee traceability remains a key issue for corporate travel managers. Three in every four wanted to be able to review proposed staff travel plans up to a week in advance of the travel date.
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