The main benefit of open booking is the speed and ease at which a booking can be made. Due to freedom from any company travel policies or booking tools, employees have a much wider range of options to choose from. Employees are free to book however and whenever they please! This all sounds great at face value, right? Unfortunately, the limitations of the open booking approach can far outweigh the benefits…
With the open booking approach, travellers can use out-of-policy suppliers or booking apps. Maybe for reasons such as brand loyalty, familiarity or even simple curiosity. Whilst this may make booking travel more convenient for the traveller, they won’t be able to access negotiated rates or fares, increasing maverick spend and dismantling any previously established cost saving opportunities. Their employer has to pay for travel on an unpredictable and adhoc basis, which is never fun to manage.
Similarly, their employer or travel manager can’t always track these kinds of transactions. This in turn decreases the accuracy of Management Information data, potentially compromising Duty of Care obligations and leaving room for deviation from company travel policies. With a TMC every step and detail of a journey is captured and logged in a travel database. This information can then be stored, analysed and reported on to track spend or chart trends.
Perhaps the biggest downside of an open booking approach is the lack of traveller support. When booking through a TMC, travellers get a 24/7 support network of travel agents and experts to assist them. Their TMC will handle any changes, cancellations, itineraries and source last minute alternatives. Traveller welfare will be of the utmost concern. With open booking, travellers don’t get that kind of support! If any problems arise, they’ll have to pick it up with their selected supplier directly to remediate any given situation. This can lead to increased spend, time-invested and stress.
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