Give a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day, give a man a laptop and internet access and he can order his fish, a pizza, a flat pack kitchen and pretty much rule the world…
…As the saying goes.
There’s little you can’t do if you’ve got internet access and many of us are used to booking most of our day-to-day lives online: hair appointments, weekly shops, restaurant reservations, holidays, eye tests, the whole shebang.
So, if that’s the case, then why do so many organisations struggle with moving the majority of their business travel bookings online? Travellers are usually used to booking online when it comes to their personal travel, so why are some so resistant to using online booking tools when it comes to business travel?
At Click we’re used to meeting organisations who are challenged by their online adoption rates – we’re also used to solving that problem for them. There isn’t a reason, or an excuse, for resisting the charms of online booking tools that our account managers haven’t heard and as a result we’ve pulled together this short list of the most common reasons why your travellers aren’t booking online and, most importantly, what you can do about it.
1. Booking tool isn’t up to scratch
There are many reasons why your bookers might not like using your online booking tool; some will be valid and some won’t, but the only way you’ll find out is to talk to your team and identify the root cause of any issues.
Poor usability and lack of choice are two of the most common reasons why travellers turn away from booking online. Is the online booking tool full of bugs and slow to load? Does it only work on desktops, when the majority of your travellers are on the move and need mobile access? Does it offer limited choice and so doesn’t include hotels that work best for your road warriors?
If the answer to any of those questions is a quiet nod then it’s best to talk to your travel management company (TMC) and find out if they can make changes to your online booking tool in order to improve your users’ experience, as well as your online adoption rates.
2. Lack of support and/or training
If using your online booking tool is too complicated or too long then more often than not travellers simply won’t use it – no one likes to feel like they can’t do something, so it’s understandable that they’d pick up the phone instead. Again, talk to your travellers to find out if they simply don’t know how to use the booking tool – if the answer’s ‘no’ then this is an easy fix and can be remedied by offering your bookers training sessions and user support.
If your organisation is not currently using a TMC then that support might take the form of a clued up IT department or a member of staff who nominates themselves as a superuser, making it their business to know all there is to know about your online booking methods. However, if you do use the services of a TMC then you might find that they provide online and over the phone troubleshooting services, or comprehensive guides to booking travel online.
3. They don’t understand why they should
To most travellers, picking up the phone to book rather than booking online doesn’t seem like a big deal – a quick phone call, what does it matter? If that’s the case with your travellers then now is the time to educate them on why booking online is not only better for your organisation as a whole, but also for them as an individual.
Start by covering ‘the bigger picture’ of how and why booking online benefits the business as a whole and then move on to their individual interests; that booking travel online means that they’re more trackable in an emergency, that booking business travel online is also quicker and takes less time out of their diary or that they can book wherever they are (WIFI permitting) allowing for a more flexible schedule.
4. There’s nothing in it for them
If your travellers still aren’t convinced of the benefits of booking online, and increasing online adoption is a top priority for your organisation, then you could give them a tangible benefit in the form of introducing incentives into your travel management strategy.
Incentives for travellers to book online could include gamification; the introduction of a point system for those who choose to book online, with a reward of cinema tickets or shopping vouchers for top scorers – or even a split in money saved with employees.