A growing number of business travel bookings are now being made through self-booking tools, according to a survey of travel buyers.
The study of 600 buyers, carried out by technology firm Amadeus, found that 53 per cent were now seeing more than half of their bookings made through self-booking facilities instead of via traditional channels such as the phone, email or face-to-face with a consultant.
Although only 59 per cent of buyers said that there travellers currently had access to an online self-booking platform.
The report also found that buyers wanted their TMCs to provide a more consultative role instead of just a booking service: 41 per cent of respondents wanted their agency to give more advice about travel options and destinations, while 39 per cent wanted the TMC to increase the ability for travellers to manage their own bookings.
Rob Sinclair-Barnes, director of marketing for Amadeus UK and Ireland, said: “The industry has made great inroads in providing the technology to travellers to be able to manage their own travel plans through self-booking tools.
“We anticipate that we’ve only seen the beginning of travellers’ appetites for mobile – this is just the beginning, and it will go much further.
“The most successful TMCs in the future are going to be those forward-thinking enough to anticipate their travellers’ needs – and meet them, providing the superior service and consultancy that they’re uniquely able to offer.”
The report also found that buyers would like to have feedback from travellers about their experiences within the booking process – although 54 per cent of buyers said that less than half of their travellers responded to their requests to provide feedback on their trips.
More than half of buyers (51 per cent) said they planned to offer more options for their travellers including weekend departures instead of the traditional Monday mornings, while 27 per cent were preparing to offer them the chance to combine their business trip with a holiday.