Change Corporate Travel Booking Software – Now?

November 10, 2020

Imagine this traveler’s experience: It’s June 2021 and you are traveling again for the first time in more than a year. You have just reached 30,000 feet on your nonstop route from Dallas to Miami, a trip you have taken too many times to count. You connect to Wi-Fi, take a sip of coffee and start reading the news.

“How the Most Recent Covid-19 Outbreak in Miami Will Affect Your Stay,” the USA Today article headline reads. Recent Covid-19 outbreak? I have five in-person meetings booked and a quota to hit!

You keep reading. “Anyone arriving in Miami will be forced to quarantine for 14 days before traveling around the city.” 14 days? How come no one told me this!?

You try to call your travel manager but you can’t reach them. You open your legacy online booking tool you used to book the trip. It takes 15 minutes to load, as usual, and you see there was no message or information about this whatsoever.

And now the realization hits you that your five-day trip will be spent in the hotel and you will have to do these meetings virtually. Despite only being 10 minutes away from the prospect.

Don’t you wish you had a tool with this kind of information? That technology exists right now. Let’s rewind back to present day.


Why change corporate travel booking software when no one is traveling?

As a travel manager, this is something you might be asking yourself right now. It’s a fair question for which I haven’t (yet) offered additional context. But as we dive deeper into it, you may realize now might be the best time to look at your options.

The Covid-19 pandemic has made a dramatic, permanent change in how we travel. How is it different? Well, the same way you reach for your mask before entering the grocery store and grab sanitizer to wipe down the cart handle. Instead of walking into an airport, a plane or a rental car the way you have 1000 times before, you now must take additional steps to ensure personal safety while inside.

Graphics: HotelFriend. Data source: destinationanalysts.com
Graphics: HotelFriend. Data source: destinationanalysts.com

The same goes for corporate travel bookings. Suddenly, a lot more information is needed before feeling confident enough to book that trip. Instead of simply going from point A to point B, we will now have to go from point A-with-a-check-for-XYZ to point B-with-a-check-for-123. These changes, in turn, will impact the way travel is booked and managed; travelers need to know what will be expected from the time they get to the airport until the time they’re comfortably in their destination. But in order for these changes to actually be helpful, we need to have a seamless user interface to facilitate and manage bookings.

Booking business travel should be as easy as booking leisure travel. Now more than ever, we don’t want to find ourselves using a tool with a clunky interface, spending hours in online booking purgatory as we navigate from one page to the other searching for safety information.

Technology needs to keep up with market demands. And travel technology platforms (like Deem) have stepped up to fill the gap.

How does technology keep us safe?

Throughout history, smart tech has been on the forefront of personal safety. Fingerprints have replaced passwords, video cameras have replaced doorbells, and self-driving cars are (slowly) replacing people. It’s time for your corporate travel booking software to follow suit.

There are several very important features that can be embedded into an online booking solution to help ensure traveler safety. First and foremost, you should be able to send real-time updates to your travelers, something our traveler in the opening of this story wished they had when he was booking their trip to Miami. These updates are crucial to any traveler, but especially during what has been an incredibly dynamic pandemic with continually changing hot spots and travel rules.

Next we have airline safety details. Staying on top of information about things like mask policy, blocked seats, capacity gaps, clean air circulation, and health screenings can be the difference between being able to get onto your flight or staying grounded. Showing up to the airport without a mask can mean either getting one from your airline (do they offer them as a backup?) or being denied boarding at all, so the extra reminder while you’re actually booking your flight is very helpful.

While we are on the subject of safety, how about safety outside of pandemic reasons? Don’t we want to know how safe the neighborhood is? Is it LGBTQ friendly? Safe for women? How about theft and property damage? These are all items we wish we could know more about before we go somewhere. The right technology can and should tell us all of this and more.

Woman wearing a medical face mask holding a rainbow flag overhead.
Woman wearing a medical face mask holding a rainbow flag overhead.

Safety awareness for your corporate travelers

Your people are empowered when they have the software tools they need to regain confidence when traveling. The Deem Travel SafetyCheck feature is built into the booking flow to help guide your travelers to safer travel choices. Detailed and up-to-date health and safety information based on destination location and airline is just one click away and available at the time your traveler needs to know the information – while they’re booking the trip.

Travelers can access information on location-specific Covid-19 cases, the destination hotel’s neighborhood nighttime safety and theft ratings, airline cleanliness, and more. Overall health and safety assessments enable travelers to compare hotels and airlines, making sure they are comfortable with their upcoming trip. Deem’s Travel SafetyCheck feature helps reduce organizational risk, ensures travelers are safe, and increases traveler confidence and awareness.

Even better, when travelers have a resource that gives them the information they need when they need it, in a platform that’s intuitive and appealing for them to use, compliance rates increase. So, not only do you make your people more confident about returning to business travel, your human resources and finance teams get better data that makes their jobs easier, too.

Changing your OBT – next steps

It’s time to take a hard look at your current travel tool set and evaluate if you’re getting what you and your travelers really need from your booking technology, with service that backs you up from the start.

-        Does this technology do everything it can to keep your travelers safe?

-        Are your travelers leveraging every feature of the technology?

-        Are you using technology to increase compliance?

-        Is the technology making your job easier?

If you answered no to any of these questions, then it’s time to schedule this meeting. Your worst-case scenario is you spent an hour of your day investigating something new. But your best-case scenario is you save your company money, make your road warriors and finance teams happy, and, possibly, save your traveler’s life.

Author

Kyle Keating
Sales Development Representative

During this last year, Kyle has spoken with hundreds of travel managers ranging from F500 to mid-market companies getting a better understanding of what they need most in an online booking solution. A former professional gambler, Kyle now spends his time learning the piano and playing with his two pit bulls, Zoey and Belle.

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