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Online booking of European Business Travel Continues to Expand

Latest statistics from the Web-based corporate travel reservation system GetThere show that the trend towards self-booked online business travel continues to grow significantly in Europe.  Employees of European companies booked 105 percent more travel through GetThere in the first quarter of 2004 than in the same period in 2003. 

This reinforces a trend towards online travel by European corporations.  Booking figures for this region shot up by 204 percent in quarter one last year against the same period in 2002, while quarters two, three and four showed similar growth.

Floyd Widener, Sabre Travel Network’s vice president - corporate for Europe, the Middle East and Africa said GetThere’s bookings growth was due largely to increased adoption by existing European customers.  The organisation has a team to help customers design and implement different adoption strategies, each designed to achieve maximum use of the system by travelling staff members.

“Some of our customers are seeing a huge improvement in adoption figures - one company in particular has reported that more than half of all its travel each month is being booked on our system.  Much of this is driven by mandating,” Widener said.

Mandating is where companies make the use of an online travel booking system compulsory.  GetThere says it notices greater levels of mandating in difficult economic climates. 



New business is also playing an important part in GetThere’s continued growth.  GetThere is now used by more than 500 organisations across Europe and Widener said local corporations were increasingly accepting that self-booking tools have an important role to play in helping to implement corporate travel policy and drive down costs. 

He said GetThere was generating average savings of 15 percent on ticket prices and 50 percent on travel management fees.  This could reduce the fare for a typical European business trip by as much as £80.

Despite being owned by Sabre Holdings and marketed by Sabre Travel Network, GetThere remains completely agnostic as far as global distribution system (GDS) affiliation is concerned.  Of GetThere’s roughly 2.25 million bookings worldwide in Q4 2003, 53 percent were processed by a GDS other than Sabre.

In Europe in Q4 2003, 73 percent of GetThere bookings came through the Sabre GDS, 14 percent came through Amadeus and 13 percent came through Galileo.