Selecting the right online booking tool for your business travel requires understanding the priorities of both your company and your travelers; this will help ensure that the end result encourages high adoption levels and brings efficiencies and savings to your program.
The ideal situation for most companies would be a single global tool, working across all markets. But does this always work in practice? There are several aspects to consider when deciding if this option is better than individual tools per market.
Identify business priorities
To find the best solution, you must first establish the priorities both globally and locally across the business. The global priorities are likely to be centered on cost-savings, increasing global leverage and ensuring comprehensive duty of care coverage.
Individual market priorities may place focus on being able to access local content as well as ease of use. For instance, if a company has offices along the North East corridor of the U.S, access to Amtrak as part of their booking solution will be crucial. A European office may be equally dependent on accessing European low cost carriers. In each of these markets, the absence of this content would render any tool useless.
Benefits of a single tool
Automatic centralized reporting
There are advantages to having one online booking tool across markets. Whilst data from multiple tools can be consolidated using specific programs, a single system means automatic centralized reporting on your entire travel program, allowing you to see costs for each market and analyze where savings and travel behavior can be optimized without any additional leg work.
Increased global leverage
Providing that high levels of adoption exist across the business, global reporting also gives you the ability to negotiate far more effectively with preferred vendors. Centralized data will give an increasingly accurate reflection of your booking volumes for various vendors, giving you the most advantageous starting point when establishing new agreements.
Single log-in and profile
There are also user experience benefits with a global tool. A single log-in means the traveler or booker can be located anywhere and quickly access their dashboard or profile. A single pool of employee profiles also means no disconnect between departments that are spread across locations. This streamlines approval processes and means profile management, such as monitoring passport and visa expirations, can be overseen in a single dashboard.
Consistent user journey
Encouraging adoption of an online tool in most businesses can be a challenge. Both travel bookers and travelers themselves become accustomed to certain behavior and adjustments can come slowly. With any new tool, proactive promotion within the business and easily accessible training is key to a successful adoption. If multiple tools are used, each market will require its own training program. With a single global tool, training can be conducted online via webinars, video guides and e-communications from your global headquarters or any other location; saving time and resources.
Focusing on best in market
The best advice is to look for the closest-match in each individual market, based on market-specific priorities, whilst also considering global requirements as much as possible. If the same tool can be used in multiple markets, global program management will be made easier. However, if the best in class solution is market-specific, working closely with your Account Managers will ensure your data is still pulled together from multiple sources, to help create a global picture of travel within your business.
If you are looking to adopt a new corporate travel online booking tool or examining whether a global tool is right for your business, Reed & Mackay can take you through the best options available and help you find maximum savings and convenience through a bespoke solution based on your priorities. To speak with us further, fill in the form below and we will contact you directly to discuss your plans.