Online, Offline or blended, is that the only choice?

Melanie Quinn
07 Jul 2021
Corporate Travel

No, is the simple answer.

The evolution of Self Booking climaxed before the pandemic forcing TMCs to define themselves as either Travel Tech companies or traditional ‘offline’ agencies, offering high touch servicing from consultants for complex itineraries, alongside either proprietary or ‘off the shelf’ booking technology.

But what now? The pandemic has increased the complexity of booking travel. Pre-trip approvals are now a must have, as a means of duty of care as opposed to control. The volume of information surrounding even domestic travel like, PPE protocols, social distancing measures and meal arrangements, must be conveyed at the point of booking.

It becomes even more complicated for international travel, where PCR test requirements, border restrictions and quarantine information must be added to the list.

There is no single source for concise up to date information, it must be aggregated from duty of care, risk and visa software as well as government websites for accuracy, by a human being that can interpret the information relevant to the traveller.

So, can these complexities be managed in an online booking tool, once again the answer is no. The onus remains on the traveller to verify any information supplied.

So what’s the answer? Short term there has been a shift to booking essential travel offline with consultants that can guide travellers through the mine of information required. Some large corporations have mandated offline bookings only, in a bid to protect their travellers.

Longer term, the efficiency and commercials of online booking will return, but it doesn’t have to look the same.

Every customer wants seamless 24/7 online or offline servicing, where a 24/7 team can service online bookings and the TMC provide quality data, traveller tracking, policy management and invoicing.

This is what our customers fed back to us in 2019 and so we developed our own proprietary technology that is neither online, offline nor blended. It’s a single source of truth for the customer and consultant, that provides efficiencies on both sides by placing the customer and the consultant in the same environment, to manage all aspects of travel.

Efficient bookings, with all the bells and whistles of a wholly offline reservation. Technology truly supporting the booking process with a consultant’s eyes on the details and quality data, tracking and invoicing as a result. A single source of truth that everyone can put their trust in.

 

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