Blue Cube Travel has developed a bespoke training programme for EAs, PAs and travel bookers in an effort to drive adoption of its online booking tool.

The programme consists of eight one-hour modules, which are delivered monthly by the TMC’s account managers to travel bookers at the client’s premises over the course of the year.

The first two modules cover air travel and facts such as ticket types, fare classes, an overview of different airline cabin products and the best options for the client’s specific travellers. Preferred airline suppliers will also take part, such as Air Canada, which gives demonstrations of its cabin products using virtual reality.

Subsequent modules will cover hotel-booking basics with explanations of different rates, bill-backs and best practice; UK and international rail ticket types; and itinerary planning.

Blue Cube says the training is not all classroom based, as some modules include the opportunity for hotel and airport site visits.

Rebecca Deadman, commercial director of Blue Cube Travel, said: “We invested in a new online booking tool last year, BC Online powered by Atriis, an NDC IATA level 4-ready solution, and although adoption levels are high with an average 85 per cent of our online clients processing their transactions via the tool, their spends were still increasing despite approval processes in place, and last-minute offline bookings were on the rise.

“Clients ask us to implement our online tool to reduce costs, but then their travel bookers are effectively expected to become travel agents without any prior experience. EAs and PAs are used to booking their own leisure travel with one click, but booking business travel via an online tool is completely different – there are travel policy constraints to consider, different fare types, classes of travel, hotel products. It can be a minefield for a travel booker.”

Commenting on the training, a London-based EA at one of Blue Cube’s FTSE 100 technology sector clients said: “The knowledge that our Blue Cube account manager bestowed on us was invaluable. The workshops helped cut through the jargon and common assumptions regarding airlines and class of travel. This training has given me the knowledge and understanding of a travel agent, which has made my job that much easier. I now feel that I have the skill set to answer and problem solve any issues that arise while making online bookings.”

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