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Nearly the same ratio of companies in
Europe require travelers to book through corporate online tools as in North
America, according to a study released on Monday by the NBTA Foundation, in
association with Egencia. The study included responses from 383 travel managers
in 20 European countries and found that 61 percent require some or all trips to
be booked online. That compares with 64 percent of North American travel
managers in a similar study released by the NBTA Foundation in July 2010. The new
study also found that 24 percent of represented European organizations have no
corporate booking tool.
“The gap has certainly been closing
over the last two to three years, so I wasn’t surprised by the European
figure,” said NBTA Europe chief executive Paul Tilstone. “I was more surprised
North America hasn’t gone beyond that. The question is: have online tools
reached saturation point or is there more opportunity? I think it is the
Considering overall survey results,
Tilstone said, “Some things have progressed in the last 18 months, but there
are still opportunities for people to get a better hold of their policy.”
Examples he cited include 64 percent of respondents only issuing verbal
reprimands for noncompliance, while 14 percent warn travelers that they may not
be reimbursed in whole or part. “If you are going to the trouble of creating a
robust policy, then something more than a verbal sanction is appropriate,
especially if one bears in mind duty of care responsibilities,” said Tilstone.
With duty of care in mind, Tilstone
said the number of companies that have contingency plans for travel emergencies—62
percent of those surveyed—also is disappointingly low.
The study includes several other surprising
findings. For example, 69 percent of represented European organizations pay for
air tickets with lodge cards, and 26 percent receive direct bills from a travel
management company. In North America, 50 percent of respondents use a central
In terms of class of service, 8 percent
of companies in the European survey allow any first class flying, while 54 percent
permit business class—although only 6 percent allow business class within
Europe. For rail, 41 percent authorize premium class on some trips and 69 percent
mandate economy on some trips.