Published on Friday, April 21, 2006
A “worrying lack of understanding” has been identified amongst business travel buyers of self-booking tools and how to implement them effectively.
Figures from the
The ITM survey – the third to be carried out by the association’s panel
of business travel buyers - questions recent industry projections that self-booking tools will capture 80% of all transactions within 18 months.
The survey also found that many self-booking tool implementations have fallen well short of buyers’ expectations, with a quarter of respondents reporting that the introduction had no quantifiable effect on levels of traveller compliance with corporate travel policies.
ITM executive director Paul Tilstone said: “The determining factors in selecting
a SBT are fairly evenly spread. Usability (80%) and reducing travel costs at
the point of sale (70%) are buyers’ main priorities.
“However, only 15% estimated that even a 10% saving on their annual travel spend had been achieved since introducing an SBT. Forty-five per cent said that it was too early to judge.”
The ITM said the role – or lack thereof - of the TMC in the self-booking tool
specification and implementation processes is also highlighted in the
research. Fifty-five per cent of buyers who have implemented an SBT did so independently of their TMC.
“This seems completely at odds with the marketing message from TMCs,” said Tilstone. “Travel Management Companies position themselves as procurement consultants and process experts, yet over half are either excluded by their clients - or exclude themselves. A further 10% of clients involve their TMCs in the specification process but not the procurement.
“There seems to be a complete disconnect between the buyer, the TMC and the
Colin Goldney, managing director of ITM research partner Argate Consulting, believes this reflects a lack of understanding amongst both buyers and TMC’s.
“There seems to be a real lack of interest amongst many TMCs in understanding the full benefits to the corporate of a self-booking tool.
“All too often the account manager passes the buck to a dedicated expert within their TMC because he or she lacks the very knowledge the buyer requires. Buyers are also guilty of this lack of knowledge, employing external consultants to manage a changer process largely because they do not understand self-booking tools themselves.”
Tilstone added: “The attitude of buyers and suppliers towards SBT’s is symptomatic of human nature where technology is concerned.
“How many of us use even a 10th of the functionality of our PCs, iPODs or whatever? More than a few of us are guilty of adopting technology without either understanding how it works, the potential benefits and how to use that technology most effectively.”
Report by Phil Davies
Report by Phil Davies
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