Self booking is set to leap from 6% of current transactions in the EMEA region to 30% by 2007, Hubert Joly, Carlson Wagonlit Travel (CWT) ceo, told the ACTE Forum in Paris.He said in the Unites States where self booking was already at 37% but would rise to 60% in two years.
"The major trend in the market for cost reduction is self-booking. All European enterprises are either thinking about it, have put, or are putting, a platform in place," he said.
Mr Joly said that self booking could save up to 54% on the cost of a telephone booking with opportunities for savings on the cost of tickets through access to a wider choice of fares, through increased compliance and from "visual guilt."
But he told more than 100 travel managers and suppliers that had to look at the total cost of a booking which included time as wells as GDS, credit card and agent fees.
Self booking can reduce both overall travel costs, by between 40%-70%, and average ticket prices, Mr Joly said. Visual guilt also helped "because when the person or the assistant sees the range of prices, a sense of guilt typically causes them to take the best price."
Mr Jacques Chambre, general expenses purchasing director for electronics company Thales, added: "The traveller sees the costs and if he wants a comparison, gets it. A lot of our tickets today are restricted tickets."
But Mr Jean-Pierre Remy, president of Expedia Corporate Travel Europe, said that while Europe was closing the gap the States on self booking adoption, there were certain structural differences with the US, like more train travel, fewer payments by corporate card and greater need for pre-approvals, which were likely to keep Europe's on-line adoption rate lower.
Mr Joly said that in his talks with 150 worldwide clients since joining CWT last summer, the four main concerns were efficient transaction services, efficient travel programme management, high touch assistance services and security issues.
Mr Remy said his company was also addressing these issues with a complete revamp of his system's reporting tools, adding the ability to track agency transaction fees and to get instant snapshots of company cost savings realised on any route.