Booking online? Know the when, where, why, and how
You may have noticed in the past few weeks that we’ve featured traveler tips related to a few of the 2012 Travel Management Priorities as identified by the CWT Travel Management Institute. This is part three in a four-part series on the top four priorities. Today’s post focuses on optimizing online adoption. If your company has an online booking tool in place, it’s important for travelers to know when, where, why, and how to best use the tool:
- Trip type: Some travel policies recommend that travelers use the online booking tool for domestic trips, and only very simple international trips. More complex international trips might need to be booked by a travel counselor. Make sure you know which trips should be booked online and which will require a phone call.
- Travel date: When booking a flight that will be departing in 24 hours or less, many travel policies recommend calling a travel counselor rather than booking online. This helps ensure the ticket will be issued in time.
- Locating the tool: Many organizations have a link to their online booking tool available on the company intranet or travel portal. Make sure you’re using your company’s approved booking tool.
- Cost: For many organizations, the service fees associated with an online booking are more cost-effective that the fees associated with calling a travel counselor. So for trips that fit the criteria, online booking is often the preferred booking method.
- Convenience: Even outside normal business hours, most online booking tools are accessible for travelers to make new bookings.
- Training: If your company offers online booking tool training or instructional documents, take a moment to review them to ensure you’re comfortable using the tool.
- Search criteria: Remember that your search criteria will impact the flight results you receive. Some travelers may find they can secure better airfares if they broaden their search results, for example by expanding their selected timeframe or checking alternate airports.
The common theme here is: check your travel policy. It will likely provide plenty of useful information about when and how to use your company’s online booking tool. And if you have any booking tips and tricks to share, we’d love to hear them.