Controversy is not beneath the travel industry and there isn’t a more divisive issue than the concept of open booking. Some professionals dedicated to the world of corporate travel believe open booking serves as a threat to policy compliance, a misguided approach to travel management that’s ignorant of the demands of large organizations. Other industry authorities counter that open booking provides a significant amount of benefits as it does drawbacks and recommend that companies adjust their policies to fit the new business travel environment.
Open booking presents practical concerns for corporate travel agencies, but also tangible opportunities for businesses looking to make employee travel more convenient, efficient, and cost-effective.
What is Open Booking?
Open booking refers to the practice of allowing employees to book corporate trips outside of an officially approved system.
It differs from more conservative travel programs where employees are required to book their flights using a corporate booking tool such as Concur, Rearden, or GetThere. When businesses support open booking policies, employees can schedule their corporate travel similar to how they book personal trips.
Open booking essentially allows employees to schedule their trips through price comparison sites, or directly with an airline or hotel.
Benefits of Employees Booking Through Open Sources
Employees may benefit from working outside of an established booking channel for a number of reasons, including:
- Employees are already comfortable working with an out-of-policy airline, hotel, or rental car company
- Employees believe that it is more convenient to book through their preferred travel site or app than in their company’s booking system
- They are unaware of company policy dedicated to working within the company’s established booking system
One of the primary reasons why employees book through the open market is that they believe they can get a more cost-effective deal than those available through a TMC. Corporate travelers’ preference around open booking is an extension of habits they’ve learned while planning personal vacations. Self-service booking has all but replaced travel agents in the modern competitive market. This is particularly the case for the Millennial generation, the largest population in the history of the United States.
Benefits of Open Booking
Open booking policies are attractive to employees and employers who seek flexibility over control.
The benefits of open booking include:
- Greater Choice for Employees
- Fewer Added Fees
- Cost Saving Opportunities
Drawbacks of Open Booking
Open Booking presents a number of challenges from an employer’s perspective when it comes to managing and controlling corporate travel.
These drawbacks include:
- Cost management
- Flawed or inadequate reporting
- Lack of accountability
Weighing the Benefits and Cons of Open Booking
Open booking, like conservative and traditional travel, isn’t right for every company. At many businesses, the typical result is a blended approach that encourages employees to use particular booking systems that have been vetted and approved by administrators, while also providing processes that support personal preferences.
Learn more about what Teplis Travel can do to promote open booking for your traveler’s while preserving your company’s travel policy. Contact us at 800-669-6547 today.