What's the better option for booking your business travel – doing it online yourself, or using a travel management company? With speed, simplicity and options available on the internet these days, you'd be forgiven for thinking it's just as quick and easy to book your trip yourself as it is to outsource. But is it?
Corporate Traveller’s assistant leader of business travel solutions, Shane Staker, and Melbourne-based travel manager, Nat Clark, gave us their insights into what booking business travel online yourself and through a travel management company looks like in terms of time, money, flexibility and choice. Who wins? Read on to find out.
Who can book faster?
How long does it take you to book business travel online?
The time it takes to book business travel isn’t always top of mind when considering the bigger picture around a business’ travel program. That’s because when you think about how online travel bookings have evolved and how quick it can be to book your travel online these days, the internet is already saving you a lot of time.
It might only take you 10 minutes, maybe 15, to book your flights, right? You go to your preferred airline's website, select your travel days, choose your flights, your seat and extras, and you're done. Flights booked.
Then you do it all over again for your hotel and your transfers. And that’s assuming you know what you’re looking for.
How long do we take to book business travel?
When you put the same task to an expert, an average booking for a travel manager can take mere minutes, says Nat: "Booking flights can take me up to two minutes for a straight forward booking, and adding on a hotel and car hire booking can take no more than five minutes when we know what the traveller wants.”
We've got the internet covered on time. But the real question is: just how much time can we save you?
It depends on how much travel we’re booking, but for our client TCLH, the answer was weeks. The company, who are specialists in providing temporary chefs, kitchen and camp management staff to organisations operating in remote Australian locations, saved 169 hours in productivity over 12 months. This is the equivalent of 4.25 weeks of a full-time staff member's time and was saved by:
- sourcing and comparing travel product using their dedicated Travel Manager;
- management of changes with one phone call/email;
- management of credits on hold (approx 10% of a company’s total trips are cancelled and held in credit); and
- reconciliation time savings created by TCLH using an invoice trading account.
Who wins on cost savings?
How much does it cost to book your travel online?
Money is a big concern for big and small businesses, and is often one of the drivers for seeking out a travel management company in the first place. Whether it’s the amount you’re spending on business travel or the fact that you don't know how much you’re spending, the cost of travel is an essential factor.
When you consider that an average booking includes flights, accommodation and ground transport or transfers, the cost of one business trip often ends up in the thousands. And that’s before meals, conferences and entertainment costs are factored in.
How much does it cost to book your travel through us?
"A common opportunity for businesses is our ability to leverage better deals and rates. Because of who we are, we have access to discounts on flights and hotels that trump the internet a lot of the time. Even seasoned travellers who are preferred customers with an airline or hotel chain can often get more value through us,” says Shane.
How? We can tap into unique solutions like our Travelsmart suite, which draws on our negotiating power with Flight Centre Travel Groups’s global supplier network to leverage the best deals, giving businesses more value and exclusive benefits, like free breakfast and WiFi with their accommodation booking..
With access to better discounts than you can find online, we will always be better on price. Want proof? Angus Knight saved $28,000 on domestic airfares and $18,000 on hotel accommodation by booking through Corporate Traveller. The company, which provides employment, education and workplace solutions for those living in rural areas of Australia, saved 47% on their business travel costs by switching to an online booking tool.
Who’s more flexible?
How flexible is the internet?
Booking your business travel online is seemingly flexible. If you need to make changes, you can - technically anyway. But when was the last time you called a general online booking provider to make changes to your booking, and got through?
You might also be limited by time restrictions when it comes to making changes to a booking, such as 24 hours before your flight, or seven days before your stay. And you'll most likely incur a fee for changes or cancellations to your booking. That's assuming you can even make changes because some rates come with a 'no changes' policy and some providers will make you jump through hoops to request a change.
How flexible does your internet booking seem now?
How flexible can we be?
Let's say, your business trip might have been booked months ago or in the last five minutes, but your itinerary isn’t final until you’re on the plane or checking into your hotel. Even then, there’s flexibility.
“With us, you’ve got a good level of flexibility to make changes to a booking. You can either go straight back into your booking portal and change it yourself or contact your travel manager who’ll arrange the changes. The process is so easy, travellers can even do it on the road in the middle of their trip,” says Shane.
Being able to change your travel plans mid-trip with a few clicks or a quick phone call makes us the winner in flexibility. We’ve invested in the technology, so you've got it at your fingertips. Think traveller profiles with your travel details and preferences, and the ability to access full itineraries online from anywhere and make changes on the go. And that’s just the beginning.
Who offers more choice?
How much choice does the internet give you?
If your idea of choice in your business travel booking is which hotel to stay at in your destination city, then you’ll get more options than you need when you search online. There will be more hotels, room options and rates than you can scroll through. It’ll look like you’ve got access to a great range of options, right?
You might be able to choose the room you want in the ideal hotel for your business trip, but how much choice do you have when it comes to what you pay for that room? Not much, says Shane: “When you’re booking online yourself, you can only book the rate that you see.”
How much choice do we offer?
We can access the same hotels that you can online. However we can also access more options when it comes to rooms and offer a greater variety of rates, says Shane: “We’ve got more inventory to choose from and have access to a broader range of rates, including discounted rates.”
That’s because we’ve got options like SmartSTAY and SmartFLY to tap into, which opens up access to one-million accommodation options and 12 million hotel accommodation rates, and 420 airlines around the world.
"We have access to corporate deals as well as exclusive Flight Centre Travel Group deals, which benefits businesses by ensuring they’re getting the best deals available," says Nat.
We have access to a world of options that you can't get when you're booking your business travel online yourself. From more options in terms of hotel rooms and airline seats to a variety of rates thanks to discounts – and all booked via a call to your Travel Manager or via your personalised online booking system - we can show you what choice in your business travel booking really looks like.
For Topcon Position Systems, more choice looks like being able to use a mix of corporate negotiated rates and discounted rates and value adds leveraged from Corporate Traveller, which resulted in 6% in actual travel savings in 2018.
The verdict: we win
It’s clear who comes up trumps when booking business travel: we do. But if you need more proof, test your business travel booking abilities with our Beat the Booker game. And if you want to put us to the test and see how much we can save you on time and money, calculate your savings with Corporate Traveller today.
If you’re not already onboard with Corporate Traveller, talk to one of our business travel solution specialists today to find out how we can save you more time and money while providing more flexibility and options. It’s a win-win.
Can you book your business trip faster than us?
If you think booking on the net is faster than booking with Corporate Traveller, it’s time you put your theory to the test! Play the game to find out if you can complete your reservation before we can.