Online reviews helping companies reduce travel budgets

Online reviews helping companies reduce travel budgets

An Amadeus-sponsored global survey reveals that senior finance executives see online “feedback” as a way to reduce their firms’ corporate travel budgets.

One in four of the execs said that “feedback tools to share comments and recommendations on accommodation, restaurants and airlines” had the potential to help save costs.

However, the study suggested there might be some resistance from travel management companies, concerned that feedback “might work against corporate travel policies” by prompting colleagues to use non-preferred suppliers.

The research was carried out by CFO Europe Research Services, a subsidiary of The Economist Group.

The online survey was completed by 120 senior finance execs in North America, Europe and Asia.

Geographically, one in three American CFOs likes the idea of feedback tools to cut costs, compared with one in five from Europe.

Business travel agents have had to adapt over the past decade as much as leisure agents. Bengt

Wallentin, CEO of eBuilder, a Sweden-based developer of automated business processes, said: “We need more value-added services [from our travel agent, such as], knowing what vaccinations we should have, rather than just booking standard tickets, because we can do that ourselves.”

Online corporate bookings tools have a high-to-medium cost saving potential, according to 63% of the execs, with only 28% saying an in-house agent could do the same.

Interestingly, CFOs think that using consumer-facing online travel agencies  or booking directly on the airline or hotel web site also have greater cost reduction potential than using an agent.

The study took place doesn’t refer to the current economic slowdown – which has seen businesses from Yahoo! to banks commit to reducing travel costs even further.

CFOs are likely to be driving this – one of the top-line findings from the survey is that travel costs can be managed better: less than half the respondents felt that their business was managing their travel budgets well or very well.

More information:

* Cost control and beyond – report

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