How to pick the right online booking tool (OBT) for your managed travel program

Picking the right OBT for your corporate travel program can seem a big task. But the key is understanding your program needs and requirements and working with a Travel Management Company (TMC) who understands you. The TMC should guide you in the process, helping drill down to what is needed for your travel program now and as it evolves.

Pick the right Online booking tool (OBTs) allows travelers to easily arrange flights, hotels, car rental, and rail bookings in compliance with the managed travel program and company policies. They contribute to overall program success, ease traveler experiences and support duty of care. An OBT is one of the most reliable resources available for making sure business travelers get the right messages about the travel program at the right time via the right channel. It’s an integral part of a travel program – and should not be viewed as a separate entity or afterthought.

  • Increases productivity
  • Boosts compliance
  • Keeps travelers safer, with more flexibility and satisfaction
  • Supports sustainability
  • Contributes to cost savings

How will the OBT help you solve issues or improve the managed travel program?

Be prepared to articulate your organization’s needs and wants, including the reason for the OBT search. Some areas of consideration might include (but are not limited to):

  • Content needed
  • Company culture
  • Digital strategy
  • Duty of care
  • GDS integration
  • Languages and currency used
  • OBTs already in use
  • Scope and volume
  • Self-service strategy
  • Service configurations
  • Total spend
  • Travel patterns
  • Travel policy
  • Trip types

9 things your OBT should do

  1. Be easy to use. A simple, user-friendly and intuitive interface can shorten training time, making the booking experience better and encourage higher OBT adoption rates.
  2. Provide a seamless experience, regardless of channel. Many employees prefer booking travel on their smartphones and are looking for a “consumer” experience. The OBT should be accessible from every device. Bonus points if it offers a desktop access and a native mobile experience.
  3. Include itinerary notifications. Check if the OBT sends automatic confirmations, reminders, and follow-ups.
  4. Handle online payments securely and integrate with popular payment gateways. The OBT should be able to process any purchasing card your company may utilize for booking airplane tickets.
  5. Offer responsive customer support via the booking tool provider or TMC. Responsive support can be crucial in case of technical issues or questions. Find out what OBT training will be provided to travelers, travel bookers and travel managers.
  6. Allow the entry or upload of traveler profile information (i.e., name, date of birth, address, emergency notification, travel preferences, etc.)
  7. Comply with data protection regulations (e.g., General Data Protection Regulation) and employ robust security measures to protect customer information.
  8. Scale with your business: Determine with your TMC whether your program is best suited to a global or regional tool.
  9. Provide data intelligence and analytics features that help track booking behavior such as business performance and in or out of policy booking trends, provided your company already has a travel policy in place.

How to pick the right online booking tool: Working with BCD Travel

BCD is consultative; we want to know the context of your experience (or lack thereof) with online booking programs. We’ll recommend the right OBT to support your corporate online booking strategies. We offer our own OBT, TripSource®, and partner with many OBTs and global suppliers to make sure you choose the right option for your program. If you want to drive self-service within your organization, we can help you do that.

Return on investment is vital. So, we carry out cost-benefit analyses to ensure that our OBT recommendation:

  • Delivers tangible savings
  • Reduce hidden costs
  • Increases booking efficiency
  • Drives operational synergies

Want to talk to BCD about picking the best booking solution for your company?

How-to guides

Get more done with our How-to series for people who work and manage travel.

Questions? Email: [email protected]

New on