Business travelers in Europe are moving away from direct booking channels, according to new research.
The SAP Concur and GBTA study shows that the booking of flights and accommodation direct with suppliers has decreased in the past year, from 81% in 2017 to 69% this year.
SAP Concur EMEA senior vice president and general manager, Pierre-Emmanuel Tetaz, points to booking technology as a potential reason saying the research shows that almost two-thirds of travelers think their employers are somewhat or very advanced in travel booking technology.
However, it’s also worth pointing out that the increased breadth of content in systems as well as tighter policy controls are further possible reasons for the move away from direct booking channels.
Content from suppliers such as Airbnb, Booking.com and wider ground transport services have been integrated with corporate booking tools in recent years making them more attractive to business travelers as well as more akin to what they use for leisure.
The study goes on to show that travelers with stricter corporate travel policy are less likely to book on direct channels. Almost three-quarters of those with a flexible policy booked direct with a supplier compared to 64% of those with a tighter policy.
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The SAP Concur/GBTA research also highlights some of the reasons for booking direct with suppliers with some interesting regional differences thrown up.
While 41% choose to book directly for convenience generally, 48% of UK business travelers cite both convenience and pricing as the top reasons.
Across Nordic countries, pricing was the most popular reason according to 42% of travelers while in Germany the most popular reasons were pricing and descriptions provided within direct booking channels.
When it comes to features travelers would like to see in corporate booking tools, 43% say personalised booking and 42% say pre-trip approval and travel personalisation.
Asked for their views on sharing personal data, 45% of travelers say they will share data for a clear purpose, 42% say they will if they can opt out at any time, 34% say they will share data if the clear purpose includes easier booking.
The survey was conducted online between September 21 and October 16 with 1252 European business travelers who had traveled for business more than once in the past year.