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Lesley's Column

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21st March 2016

Getting open booking under control

New technologies enabling travellers to book anywhere while their companies capture the booking data have become one of the hottest topics of business travel.

Open booking is an approach that allows employees to book corporate travel without many of the constraints of a typical managed programme.

A minimum of rules may apply, such as requiring travellers who book outside the TMC channels to respect a specific budget ceiling.

The trend known as BYOD – ‘bring your own device’ – is cited as being behind the rise of open booking.

BYOD is a concept where organisations allow employees to use their own laptops and smartphones instead of company ones.

IT bosses like BYOD because it reduces their capital costs. There may be higher costs for supporting a wide range of different devices, but there is no initial outlay for the equipment.

When people bring in their own devices, they bring in their own apps. This leads to business travellers expecting the same sort of experience on a business travel booking tool as they do on leisure sites and apps

The reason end-users are using consumer apps is because they look good and work well. The answer is to provide the end-user with the sort of app they want to use.

Loss of overview when travellers use these apps is one of the big worries among travel managers, both in terms of management information and of tracking, where employers must increasingly show their duty-of-care.

The Concur service, Trip Link, allows travel managers to gather information on spend outside the managed programme and it is proving increasingly popular with suppliers across all sectors signing up to it.

When considering open booking the minimum requirement is the ability to capture data and the ability to track travellers.