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GBTA conference: Direct bookings continue despite safety fears

Around two-thirds of business travellers admit that not booking through preferred channels can make it more difficult for their organisation to contact them in an emergency.

A survey entitled How Traveller Booking Behaviour Impacts Safety, conducted by GBTA and Concur, found that 66 per cent of UK business travellers agreed that booking outside their TMC or online booking tool (OBT) could affect their safety as it could make locating and contacting them more difficult.

But despite this, around 70 per cent of travellers still booked outside the corporate booking channels at least once in the past year.

The report was released at the GBTA Europe conference in Frankfurt.

Scott Torrey, chief revenue officer at Concur, said: “During these times of global uncertainty, business leaders have a responsibility to know where employees are and keep them safe and informed.

“One of the most surprising results of the study is that more than half of business travellers know that not booking through company channels can affect their safety but a majority still book outside.

“This means that companies need to put a stronger focus on safety, and I firmly believe duty of care is one of the most important things a business can do for its employees.”

Monica Sanchez, director of research for the GBTA Foundation, added that business travellers continued to book directly with a supplier or through an online travel agency (OTA) despite having access to an OBT.

“Missing or incomplete booking data can greatly hinder a company’s ability to care for their travellers as it plays a key role in duty of care – enabling virtually every risk management function that companies perform,” she added.

The survey also found that 57 per cent of UK business travellers have access to an emergency assistance hotline, including 68 per cent of those who used a TMC and 39 per cent who did not use a TMC.

Most UK road warriors (62 per cent) are also given travel advisories or notifications by their organisations, while 53 per cent receive travel health advice.

The vast majority of business travellers (75 per cent) expect to be contacted by their organisation within one or two hours or an emergency or security event.

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