The first step for most SMEs when making business travel arrangements is the search tab in their internet browser. A recent study by Google into the traveller’s road to decision indicates that around 69% of business travellers begin researching online before deciding where or how they want to travel.
The point of online research is of course to find the best possible deals on flights, accommodation and ground transport in order to minimise the cost and maximise the efficiency of your business trip. But are you actually achieving these outcomes?
The Cost Saving Myth
There is a commonly held belief among many SMEs that you can get the best prices by using the internet to book directly with airlines, hotels and ground transport providers. This process, however, takes time – a resource that is not only precious but often unaccounted for as an expense. Regardless of who’s tasked with making the travel arrangements, it can take hours or even days to comb the web for the best rates available.
The Booking Process Time
On average, it takes anywhere between 5 to 15hrs to complete the booking process starting from search all the way to post-booking amendments. Now take a second and multiple the number of hours by $20 (the average receptionist wage in Australia)
We hate to be the barer of bad news but yes, you are paying at least $100 more than you think per trip. The longer and more complex your itinerary, the more time it takes to complete the buying process and the larger your additional cost will be.
The reality is, business travel booking is a process and does take time. Travel agencies still have to do the same work. However, they have the knowledge and resources to quickly sift through details – and they do it on their time, not yours!
If you factor in the extra time and money it takes to make last-minute changes to business travel arrangements, it can often end up costing more to do it yourself than it would to engage abusiness travel specialist.
You’ll still get the best rates on things like airfares and hotel rooms, you just won’t have to find them yourself. This saves you time and time=money if you’re at work. If you’re at home, it’s even worse because time now equals precious family moments!
A corporate travel specialist will help you to consolidate your different travel requirements so that details of your air travel, accommodation, ground transport and any other services you may require can all be found in one place. They also provide a single point of contact for you and any other travellers within your business in case of an emergency or if you need support while you’re away. That’s right, no more waiting on hold with an airline for 2 hours after your flight has been unexpectedly cancelled.
Keep in mind that corporate travel management providers also have established relationships with airlines, hotel chains and ground transportation companies, so there is every chance that they will be able to use their connections to get you a better deal than you would have found on the internet anyway.
If you feel like you spend too much time staring at airfare and accommodation booking pages, contact us today to find out how you can get that time back.