Duty-Free Travel Just Won’t Fly

As a travel manager, you have a duty of care to your travelers, so you need to know where they are, where they’re staying, and what’s happening in whichever part of the world they’re traveling to. However, as more and more travelers start using online self booking tools — the kind they use for their own vacations — travel managers can quickly lose sight of who, what, when, and where.

For example, say a traveler books to go to a convention in Palm Springs via Expedia. The convention’s taking place at a specific hotel, so there’s only one viable accommodation option. But even if they choose a competitively priced package, until the expenses report’s filed (a few days after the convention…) the travel manager has no record of the booking.

This lack of oversight results in an absence of information, out of date reports, and often higher expenses. And should something bad happen — natural disaster, terror attack, civil unrest — how are you, the travel manager, going to make sure your colleagues make it home in one piece?

Ok, granted — this might sound overly paranoid. But from a professional standpoint travel managers need to feel satisfied that they can fulfill their ethical obligations, retain control over booking activity, and empower travelers — within the parameters of their company’s managed program.

Although an increasing number of companies are starting to offer better online and mobile tools, some platforms provide unmanaged bookings — made without an agent. And because deal-conscious travelers are prone to booking hotels on multiple channels through multiple providers, they often do so not realising that some offers aren’t connected to their company’s travel management system.

Ultimately, travelers want the same levels of convenience, freedom, and service they get from online leisure travel sites. And travel managers want transparency. Luckily the two aren’t mutually exclusive.

As well as helping businesses get the best possible hotel room prices, Arbitrip gives travel managers visibility of every single booking their travelers make — in real-time. This includes managed and unmanaged bookings, in-policy and out-of-policy bookings, on- and offline transactions, and even those made with or without an agent.

Keeping tabs on your travelers doesn’t mean scrutinizing every detail of every trip. But you need to make sure they stay safe, comfortable, and on budget — in that order. And while technology can give travel managers the insight they need, it’s not a cure-all. Establishing simple in-house procedures like regular communication, itinerary sharing, and pre-trip briefings can ensure everyone stays in the loop. After all, honesty is always the best policy.