8 reasons why the combination of online with offline travel services is what corporations need: Online leisure travel booking tools have been providing travel services to non business travellers for more than 20 years. It was among the first industries (if not the first) that started selling online. Expedia and Easyjet were first movers.
Ever-since, many have passed through the net. More online travel agencies (OTAs) keep popping out. Huge metasearch engines that offer immediate bidding of each flight among OTAs. Online travel agencies, appear in the market, making immense turnovers and declaring bankruptcy very soon is a usual story. Thousands of dissatisfied clients “exchanging” a few euros discount with the risk of hidden costs (credit cards extra charges, continuous colorful popups with extra services that in essence create clients creation). One agency after another kicking the can down the road and avoiding the fact that margins are extremely small to share between them and meta search engines.
But corporate travel management have always been rather traditional. The travel manager wants everything to be set, ready and smooth. Detailed e mails with offers, quick replies and just “let me select which alternative I prefer” philosophy imposed. All the peripheral to travel services i.e. travel insurance, reporting, visas issuance of course 24/7 support has been the basis of operation.
“Why would we use an online tool? We don’t want to do the job for travel agencies. If I do all this process why do I need a travel agency?”
However, an increased number of new companies enter the online corporate travel market. They offer all the services exclusively online. Only e mail and online chat as only ways of communication. The corporate travel market moves in 2 directions. Either completely online or completely offline. Is this the best way?
Online corporate travel agencies have certain advantages that offline don’t and vice versa.
Is the combination of online and “traditional” way what is needed?
1. Save time.
70% of trips are pretty simple. Booking them online is a 3 minutes task since all the travellers profiles are prefilled. The traditional alternative of sending e mails back and forth for a single flight is nothing more that extreme time loss for your corporation
2. Save money / control fares.
Buying online travel services (flights,hotels, car rentals) and hidden costs don’t match. All the fares are immediately comparable to carriers and hotels prices on the spot. You can have full control of fares and that the contract fees with the travel management company.
3. No use of credit card.
Some corporate online travel management companies (like www.corporatefigame.com of Figame.com) allow corporations to buy just with a click of a button and without the obligatory use of a credit card. List of invoices can be paid every week and better payments control is given since you don’t have to follow invoice by invoice payment.
4. Set travel policy.
Corporate travel booking tools offer travel policy modules. Rights per level of position, per type of trip and many more. Much better cost control is set and much closer look to who costs what and why.
5. Extra rewards.
Many Online corporate travel management companies provide extra incentives based on the annual spending of the corporation. Some of them give even annual rebates if certain travel spending milestone are reached by the corporation. Check here the one of corporatefigame.com.
1. Complicated trips.
Not all trips should be booked online. When the trip is really complicated and extra services might be needed (visa, foreign exchange, connected to transfers) then a professional is needed to provide 24/7 service and assist. Her/his expertise is needed for consulting, assisting and finding the best solution for the corporate traveler.
2. Accessibility when something goes wrong.
Cancelled flights, over bookings from hotels side, volcanoes, pandemics are all affecting radically trips. A travel consultant must be there 24/7 when the software cannot assist. And she/he is needed to make calls, combine manually all the alternatives and find the solution. That is what you pay her/him after all.
3. Travel consultants touch.
Level of security per country, health related issues cannot be integrated in one corporate booking tool. All this information needs the consultants touch in order to be complete.
It is a fact. Exclusively online and exclusively offline travel services provide only half of the quality needed by corporations. It is both that make the perfect service that corporations needs. In numeric terms optimal corporate travel management requires 70% online travel management and 30% offline. There are quite few travel management companies that provide this combination of services and the statistics say that they will prevail in the corporate travel market. Figame.com with its online branch (www.corporatefigame.com) is one of these few corporate travel management companies. Online is here to stay. That does not mean that corporate travel as was happening until today will disappear. Future is now…
Corporate trips seems to recover much faster than expected*. Will corporations enter the new era with this combined way of travel service?
Don’t forget to keep these 8 points handy when you run with a corporate travel agency speck. Being bold with your questions is a secret to success. Good agencies should, save your business time and money while they increase efficiency and customer satisfaction.