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Travel Management

 May 05, 2008
BCD Travel And Corporate Online Booking Tools In Asia Pacific

 BCD Travel has identified a wide variation in the degree of success achieved by corporations in Asia Pacific as they adopt online booking programs. Companies typically decide to introduce online booking tools in order to better manage travel costs and improve productivity for staff, while strengthening travel policy compliance and effectiveness, notes BCD Travel. Yet unclear corporate program objectives and inadequate assessment of internal and external barriers can impede the usage of these technology tools and at times lead to disappointing adoption results and higher costs to the corporate customer.

BCD Travel has developed a set of guidelines which its corporate customers use as they prepare to launch an online booking program or to enhance an already existing online program. Roger Pfund, general manager and vice president, Asia Pacific Operations, says, "Objectives for moving a travel program online vary by customer. We know that not every customer program is the same, from the initial launch objectives to program maturity. Not surprisingly, the 'one-size-fits-all' approach just doesn't work when it comes to implementing an online booking platform and driving adoption."

"Consequently, we have developed an approach that draws on our experience in Asia Pacific and from lessons learned from our extensive online experience in other regions where BCD Travel operates, to help a customer better understand, plan and execute a successful online program. An online program must harmonise with a corporation's overall travel program objectives, and be supported by a detailed framework that improves the success of adoption and meets efficiency goals," says Pfund.

BCD Travel has identified a number of key tactics that a corporation should undertake as it considers an online booking program:

• Apply a readiness assessment to evaluate whether the company's travel program maturity and corporate culture are conducive to an online booking environment
• Consider the overall travel program objectives and determine how moving online meets these objectives
• Ensure the company has a formal change management process in place to facilitate the online adoption growth rate
• Determine whether travel suppliers in the markets to be included distribute content which is easily accessible on the online booking tool
• Consider the limitations of various online booking tools and identify the one that best suits the company's business practices
• Decide whether the online adoption strategy is realistic and will meet travel program objectives

According to Pfund, "Moving to a successful program requires the support and investment from many key stakeholders and we assist our clients in more realistically identifying and setting their expectations. Going online is not an end in itself, but rather a means to lower program costs, increase compliance to travel policy, better utilize preferred vendors and sustain higher levels of user satisfaction and productivity."

BCD Travel simplifies and streamlines the corporate travel process, helping companies manage and control the movement of their people, information and resources. The company focuses on implementing an integrated, seamless technology platform throughout all global locations to provide full access to and analysis of travel data for its clients. Clients can take advantage of BCD Travel's presence and technology infrastructure to track every trip, every traveler, and the costs incurred throughout every journey.