The real cost of booking corporate travel online

Earlier this month Expedia announced the launch of Expedia Add-On Advantage, which unlocks guaranteed access to discounts for travellers who book a flight, car, or package.

Once a traveller books a flight, car, or package from, Expedia Add-On Advantage immediately unlocks hotel savings on selected properties until their trip starts, provided the hotel stay occurs within the travel dates of the flight, car, or package. This means that travellers can take advantage of bundling discounts that they wouldn’t receive if they booked items separately.

While services like this may seem appealing to corporate travellers, some may not be aware that a discounted rate may actually end up costing the company more in the long run.

Monique Swart, founder of the African Business Travel Association (ABTA), told Travel & Meetings Buyer that communicating this to corporates could be a challenge for buyers who had specific preferred suppliers and contracted discounts. “Many buyers struggle with this as the travellers often don’t see the ‘big picture’ and they think they are saving the company money. But at the end of the day they are diluting spend away from preferred suppliers.”

She added that travel buyers were focusing on communicating this to travellers so that they understood how small savings now and then actually ended up costing the company money when the spend and volume discounts had to be re-negotiated at the end of the year.

She suggested that, where possible, buyers should share actual figures with travellers so they could see what it actually costs a company when they dilute volumes across non-preferred suppliers.

Monique said it was important for travellers to be aware of short-term savings versus long-term cost, but admitted that communicating it was often difficult. “Many travel buyers say this is a key challenge but the more they can educate their travellers on this topic, why preferred suppliers are actually preferred (because of things like safety and discounts) the more informed they will be to make the correct booking decisions.”

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