At face value, online travel websites and bookings direct with suppliers can be appealing as there are the perceived benefits of convenience and perception of lowest rates. In reality however, if your academic organisation is using a combination of channels to book its travel – fees, leakage and the soft costs incurred from this approach to travel, can end up costing more in the long run.
Academic organisations using a number of booking channels are in effect foregoing the value-adding benefits that can only be driven by holistic travel management. Research shows that travel program consolidation with a travel management company (TMC) that specialises in academic travel, in combination with the use of bundled bookings will not only save you money in the short term, but will drive long-term value. This Campus Travel Intuition paper discusses all the benefits of bundled bookings and how your travellers can get more value from their travel budgets.
What is a bundled booking?
A bundled booking involves the simultaneous booking of flights and land components such as accommodation and/or car hire within the one request. Best case scenario of a bundled booking includes all three travel solutions (flights, accommodation and car hire) in a single booking, or it can represent a package booking of flights with accommodation or flights with car hire.
If you are booking direct with your travel provider, a bundled booking requires one email or phone call to your travel manager. If your company uses an online booking tool (OBT), the process is just as easy with your OBT providing single-screen visibility for your air, hotel and car hire searches.
Benefits of bundled bookings
Single booking fee
Consider this: If you bundle a booking for flights, hotel and car hire with Campus Travel, you’ll pay a single booking fee whether you book via your OBT or with your travel consultant. If you were to book your flights through Campus Travel, your accommodation on an alternate online travel website and your car hire direct with a supplier, you’re more than likely paying three different booking or service fees. With online travel websites charging anywhere from approximately $7 up to $30 per booking and some suppliers also charging service fees, corporates using multiple booking channels often face a higher fee structure than those customers using bundled bookings as part of a consolidated TMC-managed travel program.
Campus Travel research shows that a single booking made via an online travel website can take about 27 minutes to complete. Make a change to that booking and the completion time jumps to 38 minutes. Use the same process twice and your employee would have spent one hour and 16 minutes booking travel.
Booking travel via an online travel website or direct with suppliers may seem like it’s a quick and easy process but once you factor in price comparison searches and changes, the amount of time spent on a single booking is significant. If your employees are spending a few hours every few weeks booking travel, comparing prices online, making changes and managing payments for each channel, the time spent focusing on items that are not directly related to your core academic operation can really start to impact individual and organisational output. Additionally, Campus Travel’s suite of OBTs streamline bookings and generate productivity gains for academic organisations , due to the real-time access it provides to academic sector rates, client negotiated and Campus Travel-negotiated rates. A point-topoint booking involving airfares and accommodation on our OBT can be completed in less than three minutes.
By bundling your bookings with a single travel manager, organisations can leverage the benefits of travel program consolidation. Bundled bookings ensure your travel data is centralised through the one secure source for comprehensive data capture and reporting. Consolidation enables effective monitoring and benchmarking of key performance data and enables your organisation to optimise supplier relationships with preferred vendors by leveraging your full travel volume for maximum negotiated savings.
With bundled bookings, your organisation will have greater visibility of its spend and patterns due to higher levels of booking consolidation and reporting that is based on whole-oforganisation travel data, whether you are a tertiary or research organisation or school. The more comprehensive your data is the more clarity you’ll have around fees, compliance, exceptions, supplier management and program trending.
Enhanced policy compliance
Policy compliance is incredibly important, and this is where supplier and alternative travel websites let your organisation down. By bundling your bookings with your academic travel provider, policy compliance is driven at point of sale across all your air, hotel and car hire needs. If required, exceptions across your bookings can be dealt with immediately rather than as a follow-up during the reconciliation process.
Increased traveller safety
By bundling your bookings with Campus Traveller or on your Campus Traveller supported OBT, your organisation has complete visibility of your travellers’ whereabouts in an emergency. If you have all of your bookings through Campus Travel, our travel consultants can locate where your travellers are in an instant. Often there is no aftersales support with a web booking and companies can be exposed to lengthy call waiting times and a lack of options when dealing with a supplier during periods of peak capacity.
Make bundled bookings part of your policy
A more concerted effort to use a ‘bundled booking’ system among your travellers has the potential to boost your academic budgets on every booking. Bundled bookings, which are often underused by the education sector, present an excellent opportunity for your organisation to leverage savings. As such, we recommend organisations introduce guidelines into your policy that encourage travellers to think about how their travel plans can be ‘packaged’ every time they travel.