12 December 2022, etc.venues Monument, London
Business Travel Show Europe, presented by The BTN
21 November, London Hilton Metropole
European governments and major utilities may be missing out on travel savings by failing to embrace self-booking technology, according to Carlson Wagonlit Travel's EMEA executive vice-president Len Blackwood.“I don't know of one Government department where staff use a self-booking tool - and government for us in some countries is big business. There was one in Spain which experimented with it. Take the military, for example. I can't think of a branch which is using the technology.“I think they could save a lot of money by doing it, though in many of these departments, while they may have engineers and so on travelling, there isn't necessarily a PC on every desk,” Mr Blackwood said.His remarks come hard on the heels of a claim by GDS Sabre subsidiary GetThere that US companies cut agency fees by an average of 49% and secured 14% lower air fares when their staff used self booking tools during the past year.CWT said this week that 45% of trips booked by staff at its US client companies are now made using self-booking technology.In Europe adoption is increasing rapidly but still lags far behind. It is highest in Germany, said Mr. Blackwood, where it is now around 12-14%.One factor holding back self-booking in Europe is the lack of comprehensive rail booking software, he said.All the providers are working on it but using such tools to make train travel reservations remains impossible in most countries.“Half our transactions in France are rail, for example, but our clients do not have self-booking tools which would enable staff to make their own reservations. The same applies to bookings on Spanish and Italian railways,” he said.GetThere, which has enabled customers to self book UK train travel through an agreement with The Trainline, says it is in the process of negotiating an agreement with SNCF, the French rail operator.