Drive your OBT usage: 5 steps to succeed!

Online booking tools are not a new phenomenon having first launched almost 20 years ago. What has changed during this time is the way we interact with technology 24/7, and the way these tools are now designed – the interface, experience and customer journey.

Historically OBT’s were designed with the overriding objective of saving the corporate money and streamlining processes with little regard for the user experience. This approach made the implementation process extremely challenging as travellers struggled to understand the business objectives and new online tools.

Today the market is different, online travel solutions such as Traveldoo have been designed with the traveller at the forefront of the design process, a customer-centric value-based approach with easy to use tools and user-friendly interfaces in line with a B2C experience, to drive adoption and engagement.

Recent research conducted by ACTE indicates that corporates can save as much as 25.6% of their TMC fares and 9.1% on airline ticket spend. With such substantial opportunities to make savings and user-friendly tools more readably available, how can corporates drive adoption rates to maximise the ROI. Industry OBT adoption rates vary greatly ranging from 40%-95% (source btTB conference), with 100% only in exceptional cases. On average corporates can achieve 50%+ adoption rates in the first 6-12 months, but this often falls short of the travel managers forecast.

The psychology of change management recognises that a user must repeat something between 14-21 times consecutively before it becomes second nature. User adoption is therefore a crucial part of any implementation plan for an OBT and perhaps helps to explain why adoption rates are not always as quick to take off.

For travel managers the ultimate goal is to get 100% travel compliance against travel policy through the preferred booking channel. So how do you ensure you business buys into your travel vision, your technological solutions and travel policy?

How an organisation rolls out any new technology has a direct impact on adoption rates and will vary from organisation to organisation depending on factors such as the company culture, maturity, size and industry sector. History has shown that telling people to do something and creating penalties for non-compliance (a stick) doesn’t lead to optimal results.  The “carrot” approach, incentivising travellers to use the tool and engaging with your travellers has proven to be more successful.

 

5 Steps to increase your OBT adoption rates:

 

     1. Engagement from the outset

Communication is key from the outset, as is stating a clear objective so all stakeholders understand what you hope to achieve from the change, the benefits to the organisation and to the traveller and bookers.

     2. Buy in from the Top

Get senior management support, without buy-in from the top, the chances of achieving success are diminished. Senior management need to lead by example, actively using the new technology will encourage other to follow suit.

     3. Ongoing Marketing Communications

Today, workforces are spread across multiple generations from the millennials   through to those contemplating retirement. Finding communication channels to engage all travellers is key. The many corporate “social media” platforms such as teams and chatter, drive a community spirit, collaboration and ultimately user adoption, the aim is to find creative ways to continue communicating about the tool and the benefits.

     4. Continual cycle of review and improvement

Engage with users to get feedback and recommendations for improvement. This continual process drives engagement as well as driving adoption and usage. Analyse the booking data from your OBT to measure current adoption rates, who is using the tool and identify the trips booked offline that should not be. Look at ways to incentivise those bookings online.

     5. Share the achievements

Throughout the journey, share the milestones, the success stories and any updates. It’s a collaborative approach across numerous departments so identify ambassadors who will support and promote the new technology and rewards!

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