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Does my company need an online booking tool to book business travel requirements?

Why use an OBT JP

Putting together a comprehensive travel programme is like a jigsaw puzzle, with no client’s puzzle being the same 

For any company currently deciding what pieces will make up their travel programme, one of the main questions in today’s market is whether they require an online booking tool (OBT) 

Whilst there will never be a replacement for the support, advice and expertise a dedicated booking team can offer, for companies with a large travel spend, high volume of transactions, or a growing millennial workforce, incorporating an online booking tool into your travel programme is a sure-fire way to ensure all travellers adopt your Travel Management Company (TMC) regardless of how they choose to book. 

Below we list some of the benefits an Online Booking Tool can bring to your travel programme: 

Fully Flexible to your requirements 

The great thing about today’s online booking tools is that they are super flexible and can be tailored to your specific needs and policy. During your implementation process, your TMC will consult with you on your different booker groups (e.g. self-book, book for others, super booker) and what can and can’t be booked by each of these. This means you can have multiple travel policies all operating at the same time within the tool, and these can be easily changed at a moment’s notice by speaking with your contact within the TMC.  

As well as managing your policy, OBT’s have the ability to include an Approval Process. That could be for all bookings, or bookings that fall out of your policy, the choice is down to you and your own preferences to how this would be set up.  

Save, and book in your own time 

Sometimes it’s easier to just jump online and book travel yourself for those simple trips where a dedicated booking team isn’t needed, so for those instances, an OBT gives you and your travellers the flexibility to log in, research and book flights at a time convenient to yourselves. Whether it be researching options on the App on your journey to work, or in the evenings in the comfort of your own home, an OBT can work around your schedule and save you time in the process. 

Fully Loaded with Content  

Gone are the days when OBT’s had limited flight and hotel rates loaded into them. With the latest booking tools, TMC’s can pull in content from a huge range of avenues. Whether it’s British Airways New Distribution Capability’ (NDC) fares, or bed banks such as TotalstayBedsonline and Premier Inn/Travelodge, you can now rest assured you are getting the same prices’ you or your travellers would see online. This gives your travellers peace of mind they are getting the best deals for their trips and will increase your company’s online booking adoption. 

Mobile App 

 
Perhaps the crowning jewel in this list of benefits, as we start the new decade a Mobile Booking App is the must-have item for any company thinking about moving their travel programme to an OBT. The booking App gives you and your travellers the option to research and book trips wherever and whenever, and with Approval Process’s also built into the booking tool, it means your designated approvers can give their go-ahead to trips without needing to log into a computer. Happy Travel managers, h-app-y travellers!  

Centralise your travel to a single provider  

As an Online Booking Tool is able to book all aspects of travel (Flights, Hotels, Car Hire, Trains etc) this means All of the company travel can be booked in the same place, using the same process each time which means adoption of the solution reaches a high level very quickly after implementation. By having all the travel booked in one place, the MI data offered by your TMC will be fully comprehensive and make it much easier to analyse your spend, policy and booking practices to continuously improve your travel programme. Your Dedicated Account Manager can then suggest improvements during your review meetings to ensure you are getting the most value from your bookings.  

Bespoke Data Label Capture 

Every company has different invoice requirements, and with an OBT being able to capture multiple data labels of your choice (cost codes, PO Numbers, reason codes... to name a few) you can ensure your invoices have all the information needed to make your accounts team’s lives easier.  

Do you currently use an OBT, or are you considering implementing one for the first time? Leave your comments in the box below we'd love to hear from you! 

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About James Plumb

James is one of our experienced Business Development Managers and loves nothing more than helping his clients obtain the latest solutions to help make business travel easier.
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