March 29, 2017

Business travelers increasingly book direct


A new GBTA Foundation survey of business travelers who are based in Europe’s three largest business travel markets – Germany, the United Kingdom and France – revealed business travelers are increasingly booking direct with suppliers and embracing mobile and sharing economy services.

The study, Booking Behaviour II, conducted in partnership with Concur, found nearly one-third of business travelers in each country expect to use “alternative channels” more often in the next year. However, this growth in direct bookings will not necessarily come at the expense of booking through an online booking tool (OBT). A good share of these same business travelers also expect to rely on an OBT more often in the next year. Travelers are split, however, when predicting their use of online travel agencies (OTA) in the next year.

“As alternative channels are increasingly used, travel programs may have reduced visibility into booking over time facing greater difficulty ensuring duty of care and achieving cost savings,” said Monica Sanchez, GBTA Foundation director of research. “It’s important for travel professionals to plan for this growing trend in their programs – ensuring they capture and manage employee travel no matter where or how it was purchased.”

“This GBTA study highlights the fact that EMEA business travelers who are required to use corporate OBTs continue to book directly with suppliers and expect to do so more frequently in the future, which creates significant challenges for businesses,” said Mike Koetting, executive vice president of supplier and TMC services, Concur. “Unmanaged direct bookings can undermine travel program benefits, policy enforcement, duty-of-care obligations and supplier contracts. With traveler behaviors unlikely to change, new solutions are necessary to capture and manage corporate travel spend.”

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