A new survey by BCD Travel, a specialist corporate travel management firm, has found a substantial increase in online travel bookings among business travellers. The 2007 Annual Client Benchmark Survey concluded that nearly half (47%) of business travellers now book their trip online, up from less than one-quarter a couple of year’s ago. The large majority (80%) rate their online booking tool as good to excellent, compared with 60% in 2006.
But the news is not all good. Only half of business travellers go online to book meetings, which, for many companies, account for the lion’s share of their travel expenditures.
In addition, the majority of survey respondents indicated that the percentage of hotel bookings made through their company’s online booking tool has actually decreased since 2006, indicating that corporate travellers, like their leisure counterparts, will often book directly with suppliers.
“Companies are being creative to keep costs down,” according to Mary Ellen George, general manager of Advito, the independent consulting division of BCD Travel, which provided data analysis and forecasting for the survey.
“They are optimising data during negotiations to secure effective deals and are using differentiated pricing to push lower-cost transactions via online booking tools.”