ASATA Col­umn

Business Traveller (Africa) - - CONTENTS -

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

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