Book online or through an agency: costs and benefits

The business travel sector is increasingly adopting online bookings. This solution has its cost, control and CSR advantages, but it’s important to note that not all online transactions are the same: it all depends on how and where you book.

An online transaction can mean several things. It can be a reservation made on a mobile app or on the internet (for example on a comparative site like Skyscanner), or through an online travel agency or a booking tool. While booking directly online on platforms like Expedia or on hotel or airline websites may seem cheap, you may miss out on the benefits of booking with a business travel agency.

Taking care of travel reservations yourself, rather than going through a professional, has some challenges. It’s a bit like renovating your home: DIY enthusiasts prefer to do it themselves, and save some money by the way. But the lack of expertise and knowledge can sometimes have unpleasant surprises. To avoid this, here is a summary of the benefits to book through an agency.

More choices

A business travel agency often has the inventory that your business needs. It will include, for example, suppliers approved by your employer, for reasons of business partnership or CSR. And these providers will be able to offer your business travelers unique benefits, such as lower rates or room upgrades.

Time is money

You can find a hotel room at a good price using a comparison site or an online travel agency like Expedia, but you may spend a lot of time there, instead of fulfilling the strategic objectives of your business.

A precious help

In life, everything does not always go according to plan. Travel itineraries may change at the last moment, a missed flight or an unexpected setback sometimes requires us to book again … That’s why you need a business travel agency with an offline customer service reachable at any time. They will be able to reorganize your trip in minutes by avoiding you several phone calls or hours lost in a queue.

In addition, depending on the type of traveler, the most effective rate is not necessarily the cheapest. For example, a member of the sales team often has to change plans; a flexible ticket is the best solution for him. Fortunately, advisors from business travel agencies are trained to find the best rate.

It is important that your online adoption rate be high, but an offline help desk is also essential.

Good adherence to the program to limit costs

Every company wants its employees to adhere to its policy to save money. Your business must offer its travelers a system that allows them to book at their leisure while adhering to your policy. And this is almost impossible if travelers book on different sites online.

Administrative back-office work also becomes problematic if you book through multiple channels. Manually completing expense and approval forms requires time, resources and patience … not to mention a very flexible financial service! That’s why a professional booking system that automatically collects your data and produces reports in the right format is much more convenient than a hand-filled collection of tables.

Negotiate prices

The level of satisfaction of your travelers is important, but your business must also make sure to maximize the value of its travel expenses. Do not settle for just one fare. Think about how you can use the total volume of your purchases to negotiate offers.

You may be buying 300 nights a year from the same chain of hotels, but if you make these reservations both through online travel agents, the hotel website and agencies hotel reservation, they will not display in the compiled data. Therefore, without this information, you will not be able to use the total volume of your expenses to get discounts. While if your bookings are all done by a single travel agency, your account executive will have more data to negotiate better rates.

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