In today’s modern world the internet allows us to operate 24/7.

The online booking tool has become an essential piece of technology to ensure business travellers and companies remain mobile. We have all been involved in the growth of technology and most of us crave the latest gadgets or stream TV and we all research things like our personal holidays online. So why when you mention the words “online booking tool” does the room go quiet and everyone look terrified?

There are several reasons why travellers resist booking through their designated online booking tool (OBT), but the most common ones heard by Travel Management Companies are as follows

  1. Booking tool isn’t up to scratch – not user friendly and lack of choice
  2. Lack of support and training
  3. There is no understanding of the importance of using a online booking tool

The tool is designed to offer choice and flexibility to travellers, whilst increasing policy compliance and decreasing transaction fees.  If the system is not used, these factors will not be met meaning it’s full functionality is not properly reached.

At Gray Dawes we’re used to having this conversation with companies who are looking to drive adoption levels. Here are our top tips to help increase online booking adoption

Talk to your travellers – Understand equally what they like and what they don’t like about the online booking tool, what would they like to experience when using the tool. Educate travellers about the benefits of using online and why the company has implemented such a tool. At Gray Dawes, we have a wealth of experience in providing company communication campaigns to aid in getting the message out.

Ensure you have the right booking tool with the right content – Having the right tool for the job is essential, if it’s not right for your company needs and can’t be tailored accordingly the tool will be inadequate and not fit for purpose. When reviewing your online tool and speaking to travellers and bookers be sure to keep in mind the following;

  • Is the online booking tool slow and cumbersome, making it hard to use?
  • Does it only work on desktops, when most of your travellers are on the move and need mobile access?
  • Does it offer limited choice for air, hotels and rail?

Have online booking tool Champions – You have a tool that has been implemented and want to increase positive awareness. Establish your key users through your monthly reports and create a group of champions to drive positive change and experiences with the online tool, they could assist with in house training and provide advice on any problems.

Work with a TMC that will facilitate your online needs –  A TMC like ourselves is used to meeting with companies daily, that face online resistance. We are here to help drive change and adoption through positive experiences, training and support, travel policy guidance and MI. Utilizing the knowledge and experience of an innovative TMC will help increase online adoption.

Management Information – Ensure you’re receiving comprehensive data from your online tool such as current adoption rates, who is using the tool and more importantly who is not and is this reoccurring? What trips are being booked offline? If they are simple point to point itineraries this information will highlight who is doing what, allowing you to assess  if more training needs to be done or tweaks need to be made to your booking tool.

Training and Support – Is key to the success of the tool. Through a Travel Management Company like Gray Dawes you’ll not only receive your initial training like you would thorough other suppliers, but you will also have an online support team, who will be able to advise and trouble shoot any problems that may occur. Additionally, if it is identified that further training is required, we will provide the extra training to ensure all users are confident in using the tool.

Have a plan – Set goals of what you would like to achieve and when. This will provide a defined approach that both the company and TMC can work to. Our strategic Account Managers will be happy to work with you to create an action plan that will meet your overall target.

Mandating use of the online tool – It could be a case of tough love, but mandating the use of the online booking tool for appropriate itineraries will ultimately drive adoption.

If you are looking to review your online booking tool or wish to have a chat about how you could increase your adoption levels, then please give us a call or contact us via the online option and we will be happy to see how we can help