Online ‘tipping point’ reached for business travel

A tipping point has been reached in the ability to book business travel online but only a third are able to do so on a mobile or tablet device, a study out today shows.

Research by Amadeus found that two thirds (66%) of travellers are now able to book their business travel through an online booking tool.

But just 33% are able to book travel on a mobile or tablet device, providing a “significant area of opportunity” for travel managers, Travel management companies and technology firms to put their knowledge and company policies in the hands of the traveller.

Convenience is prioritised by corporate travellers above cost and comfort, with 62% saying this was the most important factor when travelling for business.
Just over a fifth (22%) indicated cost as their top priority, with only 15% putting comfort first.

Almost a third (32%) of the 400 business travellers polled in the UK and Ireland would also like to have the opportunity to extend their business trip to include self-funded leisure travel and 14% would like to be provided with information into local sights.

But the report provides mixed reading for travel managers.

While half of the travellers surveyed said that they fully understand their company’s corporate travel policy (51%), this leaves nearly half who have a more limited or no understanding.

Respondents demonstrated an inability to pinpoint the value added by the corporate travel department. Almost half (47%) said that the department neither helped nor hindered the business and 15% said that the corporate travel department hindered their ability to do business.

More than a third (34%) of travellers surveyed said that they had gone “off plan” during their 2012 business travel. This increased to half (51%) for those travellers who made 11 or more trips. Nearly a fifth (18%) of them went “off plan” at least five times during the year.

Half (51%) of respondents had to make changes to their travel plans last year with 37% having to amend their flights whilst on the road.

These statistics indicate a clear opportunity for travel departments to add value as only 30% of travellers said they had been ‘very effective’ at making the necessary amendments to their bookings.

Amadeus UK and Ireland managing director Diane Bouzebiba said: “These findings clearly identify opportunities for travel departments to introduce new services and technologies that will deliver additional value to travellers.

“Over the course of this year, a particular priority for Amadeus UK is to help corporate travel departments better understand the emerging needs of the 21st century business traveller.

“Putting their expertise in the hands of corporate travellers and exploring mobile technology to facilitate the planning, booking and amendment of travel arrangements, will go a long way to help keep travellers on plan, safe and better connected in 2013 and beyond.”

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