ASATA Column: All about the money

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Do you have the price tag on your mind when you’re booking a hotel for your next business trip, or are you happy to splurge just that bit more when it’s on the company tab?

If you are quite keen to go for 5-star luxury on corporate trips, it might surprise you to learn that more than half of business travellers say that ‘finding the right price’ is one of their top priorities when booking hotels for a corporate trip. This was according to ‘Booking Behaviors: Helping Business Travelers Book Smarter’, a recent study conducted by the Global Business Travel Association.

For travel buyers and TMCs, business travellers becoming a bit more frugal is great news. It means continued efforts to convey the message to business travellers that they need to book using methods that yield the greatest savings has finally sunk in. Keeping travel costs down is one of the key drivers in any company’s travel policy.

But it’s not all good news unfortunately. When it comes to booking, the same study says that travellers are quite happy to buck their company’s rules and book through direct channels instead of through the company’s booking tools, without sharing this information with the company. This makes the travel buyer’s job a nightmare as it becomes almost impossible to monitor or enforce policy compliance. Worse, if as a traveller you find yourself in an emergency, your ASATA agent or travel buyer will not be able to locate you.

If you’re shaking your head and blaming those young Gen Y colleagues in your company, don’t be so hasty. The study says that Millennials are more likely to use a travel agent than their older business counterparts. Baby Boomers on the other hand like to use a direct booking site, probably because of their status as preferred guests.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with getting points for travelling – even if the company is paying – but if it means you are choosing a more expensive option or are bypassing the company’s preferred booking tools, this behavior could land you in hot water. What’s more, there’s definitely no need to bypass your ASATA travel agent, they are there to help you get all the extra perks through your preferred status without undermining your company’s travel policy.

Otto de Vries
CEO: ASATA