When does it make sense for travelers to book outside the corporate channel? Whenever you can get through each of these three gates:
1) Will the open booking data be acquired quickly by the corporate traveler security system? This is a show-stopper for a lot of sites.
Some solutions are to use a tool like ProcureApp, or getting travelers to forward their bookings to an itinerary management tool, like TripIt. Soon, we’ll see data capture solutions from Concur and GDSX, among others. If getting the data is not a problem, then onward…
2) Will the consumer site provide cost-competitive prices? It depends, but why worry about a 2% discount on a $250 fare when there is a $10 or $20 transaction fee getting tacked on by the corporate channel? On the other hand, a 30% discount on a business class ticket makes it well worth booking via the corporate channel.
3) Will the traveler have a better experience on the consumer site? Not just the click-to-book steps, but will she get a better set of itinerary and ancillary choices?
Think about where we are on this decision path. To get to this third question, we’re saying the data will be acquired, and the prices will be competitive. So now, why wouldn’t you want your travelers to have the freedom of using whatever booking tool makes sense to them?
Keep in mind that for some travelers the answer will be the corporate booking tool. Great! But if not, the principles of Managed Travel 2.0 say let your travelers roam free…subject to a few key constraints.
Up next: Five Innovation Opportunities Driven by MT 2.0
Author’s note: Evan Konwiser contributes significantly to this series.
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