< PrevNext > 2020 is the Year of Direct Booking Channels By DigiTravel Consulting Managing Partner Susan Lichtenstein / January 24, 2020 Share In 2020, many companies will open direct booking channels, which will benefit all corporate stakeholders. While the commonly held belief is that direct bookings open the door to absolute chaos, establishing these channels actually creates more control over a travel program, not less. Once corporate travel managers understand how they can control their company’s direct booking channel, the fear of loss of control and compliance will be allayed. Corporate policy can now be applied to this channel, which will be enforced by implementing advanced robotic process automation to create a rigorous auditing process. By and large, travelers will do the right thing for their companies, and they will also understand that all their activity is monitored, which will reinforce appropriate behavior. Real-time visibility also provides a view into employee travel and booking behaviors and their impact on compliance—information that can be used to enhance the travel program in the future. One-hundred percent visibility into all bookings aids in duty of care because travelers’ locations will be known regardless of how the trip was booked. Transaction detail will also provide insight into how to improve the program for travelers. Direct booking channels can provide one-hundred percent real-time visibility into all bookings and changes made by employees, regardless of the booking channel used, which also means increased visibility into spend.Currently, one of the biggest pain points for employees is the TMC technology they are required to use. The rigid interface pales in comparison to their leisure booking experiences and leads to user frustration at a time of high employment when companies are trying to avoid employee dissatisfaction. More concerning is that this may lead to additional leakage from the travel program. Direct booking channels address these concerns by providing employees with the convenience and flexibility they experience when booking personal travel.Direct booking channels can often yield significant additional supplier savings of 10 percent to 20 percent, plus a 30 percent cost reduction to manage. This channel eliminates unnecessary transaction fees, back-end commissions and overrides, reduces account management support costs, and companies will be able to procure better deals as suppliers’ distribution costs become more efficient. Employees want to do the right thing as good corporate citizens, but they want better user interfaces and control over the search and booking processes to self-manage their personal experience while saving their companies money. Direct booking channels address these frustrations by letting travelers research and book travel guided by company policy on the mobile platforms they already use in their personal lives. This reduces employee frustration and contrary to popular industry thinking, travel policies will be more effective with a more complete data set that can be audited for compliance. Implementing direct booking channels also lets travelers see and book with their company’s preferred suppliers or low-cost carriers, saving their companies money while remaining compliant from a duty of care perspective.Opening a direct booking channel can be a powerful addition to an existing travel program, giving travel managers and their companies more control, enabling impressive savings, and increasing traveler satisfaction. ______________________________________This is a condensed version of a longer blog post that can be seen on DigiTravel Consulting’s website.