The latest from Chief Executive Officer Otto de Vries
Do you find it easier to hop online quickly and book that deal for that Jo'burg-Cape Town flight yourself, rather than going through the proper, formalised company channels?
You are not alone. Increasingly, business travellers are taking their work trips into their own hands. A recent study by Phocuswright found more business travellers are using their phones to plan and book their trips, outside of their companies' travel tools.
And who can blame them? It's their trip, they know what they like and that they've saved the company by booking a good deal, right? And who wouldn't book that treehouse on Airbnb instead of a standard hotel room if it is the same price or possibly cheaper?
It is seldom that simple. The more employees who decide to book rogue – yes, this includes spontaneously booking that particular deal or opting for authentic accommodation in a treehouse – the less likely a company is to meet the quota arranged by your ASATA travel agent, jeopardising double-digit discounts for the company and any other travellers who book within the travel programme.
But what if you need to change your plans when your trip is cancelled or postponed because of weather, strikes or simply that your meeting has run late? Travel delays are a lot easier to handle with the help of an ASATA travel agent who might even help you rebook without penalty. It will mean no more tiring calls to airlines begging for a refund or a new connecting flight.
Safety is another critical consideration, not only for the company but also for individuals. According to the Global Business Travel Association, 78% of travel managers expect safety to become a higher priority in the near term. However, if an emergency occurs and travellers have booked outside the travel programme, it is far more complicated for the company to track the employee's location, communicate with them and ensure the employee is safe.
Corporate travel programmes can seem restrictive, but they don't have to be. Talk to your ASATA travel agent about your preferences, how and what to book. Whatever you do, don't go rogue; it's just not worth it. ■
Otto de Vries ASATA CEO