Sure, it’s quick and easy for business travelers to search for flights on public travel websites. Watching the ticket price continually drop in front of your eyes; it’s hard to believe there’s a better deal anywhere else! But in the end that’s not always the truth. Both the traveler and their employer are missing out on additional benefits when they use public booking sites for business travel. There are many variables that play a part in efficient travel service and price, many are often overlooked in the process of using those simple public online booking sites.
What you need to know about public online booking sites
- Hidden transaction fees. Some sites include their transaction fees in a small hidden link called “additional taxes & fees”. Users assume those are sales taxes, etc., but in some cases, an additional transaction fee is also slipped in.
- Hotel cancellation fees and discounts. Yes, there are great hotel prices on public sites. But those are usually non-refundable, non-changeable and you have to pre-pay the full stay. Even if you end up cancelling once, those charges often outweigh any savings you attained throughout the whole year. If you end up cancelling only one hotel stay in a entire year, those charges can outweigh any savings you attained throughout the year.
- No duty of care. There is a moral and legal obligation for employers to know where their employees are when traveling for the company. Employees must email their employers their itinerary. Who manages that? The traveler’s boss? The travel manager? The office manager? In the event of an emergency, who in the company will be digging through their emails to determine if their traveler is in harm’s way. Public online booking sites are not equipped for handling duty of care responsibilities.
- Poor after-hours care. Who wants to call an 800 number at 10pm when the snowstorm hits the Eastern seaboard and every other traveler is doing the exact same thing? Hold times are outrageous. On top of your personality sanity, these public booking websites don’t know what your company’s policy is around re-booking flights.
- No built-in travel policy. What stops your traveler from booking the Four Seasons or Business Class on a public site? What stops your traveler from booking the $400 flight on Delta when there is a similar flight on United for only $310? We’d all like to think that our employee will “do the right thing”, but that’s not always the case.
Public online sites may seem like the easiest and cheapest route for corporations, but in the long run these corporations are falling short. Travel management companies on the other hand give travelers the tools they need to make the correct choices for booking their business trips. Pricing is transparent and policies are followed. The company’s travel policy is built in to the online booking tool so the traveler can choose the best option within the company’s guidelines. And if a flight is cancelled or delayed, the traveler will receive prompt and friendly assistance from an agent that knows the company and knows the traveler. In the event of an emergency or disaster, the company can quickly locate and alert each and every traveler and assist those travelers when in need.
Christopherson Business Travel is a corporate travel management company with more than 60 years of experience in the field. We pride ourselves on our efficient travel technology and consultative customer service.
The Downside of Using Online Booking Sites