Business travel procurement – the future is arriving fast

Traditional ways for a corporate business traveller to book a trip are changing dramatically and rapidly. There are so many more choices and tools available than ever before, via more innovative sources and channels, Ross Kata noted at a recent ITMSA travel forum.

“The trend is now towards business self-service, which has accelerated owing to widespread internet access and the rise of more technology-savvy users. Hotels, car-hire and air tickets can be researched, booked and confirmed instantly on mobile devices whilst taking a short coffee break”, he explained.

You need only to consider applying any one of the many web-based solutions that are secure and freely available. They can solve almost any corporate travel need, barring multiple-destination itineraries and complex visa requirements. On-line web-based travel service providers communicate in a variety of different ways to accommodate most business preferences.

It follows that travel management companies and traditional travel agencies servicing corporates need to take note of these rapid advances. Current research indicates that the majority of travel bookings being done via mobile devices are for the same day or the next day and a substantial proportion of them are done on a Friday or Saturday.

The usual excuses for not allowing individuals to book for themselves using self-service tools, such as the lack of control of costs; tracking user compliance; and maverick spending, are rapidly falling away: many of web-based solutions provide superior on-line reporting of savings and ensure compliance to policy- two issues close to the heart of the procurement discipline.

The leveraging of higher volumes and operating 24/7 are real attention getters. Safety and security are also enhanced and up-to-date ‘real time’ trip information can be made available to every traveller each time he or she needs to move.

“However” Kata cautioned, “there are several areas that do not easily lend themselves to self-service. Take the case of group bookings, budget travel packages and government travel management, they are all areas that still need human intervention – the only question then is, for how long?

These and other new innovations in the world of the purchasing of Corporate travel will fall under the spotlight at the upcoming SmartProcurement one-day Technical Workshop on the TCO of Travel, measured against world-class benchmarks, on 20 June 2012 in Centurion.

To register for this CPD event, presented by a subject matter expert, please call Erieka Santos on 087 805 0893 or email to

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