When it comes to business and leisure travel, both usually stick to their respective lanes. However, the growing dissatisfaction with legacy Online Booking Tools (OBTs) might see a fusion on the horizon.
The adoption of consumer style tools for business applications is widespread (hello Uber for Business, WhatsApp and Slack) so these days If you need a ride to a meeting or real-time collaboration with colleagues there’s a familiar app for that. Yet, it seems that when it comes to corporate travel, OBTs haven’t quite caught up yet.
A recent study by travel management gurus Festive Road interviewed over 100 global travel buyers, representing the top tier leaders of global travel programs, and conducted a thorough analysis. Spoiler alert: the results are not pretty for legacy corporate travel tools.
They found that 73% of those who participated were less than impressed with the corporate tools available compared to leisure travel tools, and only 57% believe that the current standard of corporate booking tools make it easy and enjoyable to use.
The survey also took a look at the OBT services of the future and the needs of travel managers and their travelers.
The findings from this survey also revealed some of these buyers stated that there’s a “need to become more intuitive to the needs of each user and provide better visibility of the fares, conditions and product offering”, as well as a streamlined solution for simplicity in content which, in turn, “will drive higher adoption rate and satisfaction.”
Simply put, the corporate booking tools available are outdated and do not measure up to their leisure counterparts.
We know this because:
- travel buyers surveyed used terms like old, slow, cumbersome, undifferentiated, antiquated and limited were most commonly used to describe the OBT experience
- 57% of them disagreed with the notion that “corporate booking tools offer an enticing and intuitive interface to make shopping for travelers easy and enjoyable”
A big takeaway from the findings by Festive Road was the appreciation for more flexibility to pair travel and expense components, with 68% of those surveyed expressing the importance of integrated travel and expense, a key step to gaining true visibility and control over the total cost of travel.
68% of those surveyed expressed the importance of integrating expense with travel
Buyers are becoming acutely aware that the future of OBTs needs a dramatic shot in the arm if corporate travel is to reach anywhere near the levels of choice and convenience of their leisure counterparts.
Some of those surveyed described the desired future state and how it could get easier, with one saying “we need an enterprise solution with custom capabilities” and the other stating “if you have to mandate a corporate process then something is wrong. The corporate process should inspire the travelers”.
“If you have to mandate a corporate process then something is wrong. The corporate process should inspire the travelers”.
Of course the argument that there’s more to consider in regards to corporate travel is a valid one, but if an app that delivers food to your doorstep can liaise with multiple food chains, employ an algorithm that shifts to your growing appetite, and give you a solution based platform informing their customer of any changes in a simple and digestible way, then we know it isn't impossible. Thankfully, these concerns may have been answered with the new generation of OBTs.
Taking into consideration the data that has been procured on the dissatisfaction for corporate OBTs, it seems that there may be a glimmer of hope in the distance. If nothing else, Zeno may be the first online travel platform to light the way for a smarter, easier and more streamlined future for online travel and expense.