Companies use managed travel programs to get bulk discounts and limit the conflicts of interest inherent to having travelers make their own travel decisions. But many of those companies don’t do a very good job of it, and the tools provided to travelers are frequently not very good.
Skift interviews the CEO of Concur about the future of booking corporate travel.
Bottom line is that employees don’t do what they’re told, despite incentives and even threats if they don’t use corporate travel booking tools. Over 50% of hotels booked by business travelers in managed travel programs are booked outside of corporate policy.
Part of this is that employees get better deals outside their corporate booking channels. Travel managers protest that they have booking goals to get big rebates and travelers don’t understand how good a deal booking negotiated rates really is. But that’s often self-serving and only part true at best.
Most airfares are available through corporate tools. There are very few fares that can be had better outside of a standard global distribution system (because of the nature of their contracts which don’t permit it). But that’s not true for hotels or rental cars.
Concur has made a big bet on their TripLink initiative which is a way for business travelers whose companies have negotiated rates with – say – United – to book at United.com and still get their negotiated rates and use their standard corporate travel expense reporting tools. That in turn makes do-it-yourselfers no longer “rogue bookers.”
I think the overriding concept, and how we look at the world, is that you want to embrace the behavior of the individual. And you want to make it easier for them to do whatever it is they need to do. The patterns we are seeing in the world, the patterns we are seeing by cloud computing, by mobile computing, allow the individual to work in the model that they want to work. Embrace that behavior, capture the information that is necessary for them to get the results they are looking for. And then work behind the scenes to make sure you are meeting corporate objectives.
The bottom-line here is that business travelers in managed travel programs have a future to look forward ot in which they can… avail themselves of advanced technology like United.com.
Not very inspiring, but we’ll take what we can get!
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