Frequent business travellers are more likely to make their own bookings, as are those from multinational organisations, a new report shows.
European travellers on business are more likely to use travel managers, while their US counterparts make their own bookings, according to a study of booking behaviour by Egencia.
Two out of three companies centralise their travel purchasing in Europe, whereas only one out of three do so in North America.
Companies with centralised booking rely on travel arrangers or travel departments for booking flights, hotels, cars and trains for more than 60% of their travellers’ reservations.
In Europe, where the centralised model is more prevalent than in North America, travel arrangers make seven times more bookings than self-bookers on average, the research reveals.
Travel managers make more advanced reservations, but cancel bookings twice as often as self-bookers. This could be to make up for a lack of visibility on travellers’ schedules and trip imperatives.
Travel arrangers among Egencia’s clients have adopted online booking at a rate upwards of 80% and the more they book, the more they adopt online booking over traditional offline methods, the company claims.
Egencia UK managing director Graham Kingsmill said: “Many of our customers use some combination of the two models: more assistance for complex or VIP travel and more independence for road warriors.
"In both cases, modern travel management solutions with simple booking and expert service can help accelerate cost-savings more than traditional travel services.”
The self-booking model is likely to gain more traction as more European companies expand globally.
The new, digital generation of business travellers will also affect this trend as they will expect the same level of usability, choice and transparency in their business reservations as they get in the leisure market, the report finds.
As this generation increasingly moves into the workplace, this will naturally lead to more self-booking and companies should be poised to respond with solutions that will maximise this trend for savings and traveller satisfaction.
The report is being released at the Business Travel Conference in London which starts today (Tuesday).