Flight Centre Business Travel (FCBT) has released a new online solution for booking and managing work trips that reflects the experience of a leisure booking platform.
HelloFCBT has been developed to meet increasing demand from the company’s 2,000 SME-spend clients across the UK. Until now, customers were serviced purely offline via phone and email by local consultants at 20 offices nationwide.
According to FCBT, the new digital platform complements its offline service offering, particularly for complex bookings or those clients who prefer to continue arranging travel via their dedicated consultant.
The company says the platform’s interface is similar to a leisure booking experience and enables bookers and travellers to search and book a choice of air, hotel, rail and car content. This includes Flight Centre-negotiated fares, client-specific fares, public air fares, scheduled and low-cost carriers, as well as Flight Centre-negotiated hotel content, properties and rates.
HelloFCBT can be implemented for clients within 24 hours, according to FCBT, and also enables users to manage payment solutions, traveller profiles and tracking, integration of policies, preferred suppliers and reporting through a single portal. A ‘traffic light’ approval feature can be set up to guide users if they are about to make a booking outside of policy, which also notifies approvers. Meanwhile, Billboard announcements can be tailored to be relevant to the client’s internal travel communication needs.
The platform can be accessed via smartphone, tablet, or desktop. Bookings made offline through a consultant are also synchronised within HelloFCBT, including traveller tracking functionality.
In addition, FCBT clients can now gain access to Sam, which was originally developed for sister division FCM Travel Solutions by 3Mundi and is now owned by the group. The mobile app now has around 40,000 of its customers’ travellers tapped in.
Sam delivers personalised contextual information via a conversational interface on a user’s smartphone, making recommendations and performing actions relevant to the traveller’s trip. It can assist users with itinerary management, air and hotel booking, online check-in, flight updates and local weather forecasts, as well as security notifications, taxis and transfers, city guides and destination information. Users can also manage their expenses through an integration with Certify.
UK general manager Joe Beevis commented: “We are very excited about introducing technology to our service offering for the first time… Our people have always been at the heart of our business, delivering an amazing personal service and cost savings to our clients – and that’s not going to change. But technology and the expectations of our clients have changed. Our aim with the launch of HelloFCBT and Sam is to complement the exceptional personal service from our travel experts with appropriate technology solutions. Booking business travel doesn’t need to be complicated. Our aim is to make it as easy and straightforward as possible for our customers.”