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Self-service makes life easy for business travelers

October 04, 2023
By Andrew Sheivachman
Categories Travel Management


When business travelers have the ability to adjust their trips, they spend less time worrying about travel and more time on achieving your company’s business goals.

Two-thirds of travel managers polled said agent call center wait times are longer today than before the pandemic, according to the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), while about half said that getting help from agents is their top pain point in 2023.

When you enable your travelers to change and cancel their trips with self-service functionality, you eliminate the need for them to spend time reaching out to travel agents. This improves the experience of your travelers while helping you save on service and after-hours fees for your travel program.

Here are some common scenarios that self-service capabilities empower your travelers to solve easily.

Scenario 1: A meeting is pushed back and a traveler needs to arrive later

It happens all the time. Your travelers are set to meet with a client or prospect, but the meeting is delayed a couple days.

More frequently, they have to stay a few extra days for additional meetings or to close a deal.

Without self-service functionality in your company’s Online Booking Tool (OBT), each traveler has to call an agent or individual airlines and hotel chains to make the changes they need. If this happens at the last minute, your travel management company (TMC) will likely tack on onerous service and after-hours fees.

With Spotnana’s self-service change management, travelers can easily adjust their flight, hotel, and car rental reservations in minutes, while remaining inside your company’s travel policy, saving time and reducing the costs of any last minute changes. This functionality frees up your travelers to focus on their business goals instead of spending hours on the phone with travel agents.

Scenario 2: A traveler’s meeting location changes

It’s common for meeting locations to shift and travelers prefer to stay close to where their meeting will happen. In fact, research shows that most travelers who book out of policy do so to stay close to their meeting location.

If a traveler books a non-refundable hotel, they will likely have to call the hotel they booked and wrangle to get a refund. If a traveler can’t find a hotel that suits their needs nearby on their OBT, they’re likely to book off-platform and out of policy.

With self-service change management, it’s easy for travelers to swap hotels and view local alternatives via a map of their destination. Spotnana pulls in content from the GDS, Expedia, Booking.com, aggregators, and more to provide the widest possible array of hotel content. 

If travelers want to drive to their meetings and keep their hotel, it’s simple to add a car rental to their trip as well with no additional booking or service fee.

Scenario 3: A traveler has unused tickets expiring at the end of the month

When travelers cancel a non-refundable flight, they receive unused ticket credits that are difficult to track. Travel managers can ask them to use their credits before they expire, but the process is a nightmare to even know what credits exist and where they can be applied.

A traveler typically has to be informed manually that they have a credit, and then they have to redeem the credit through an agent or directly with an airline. It’s a huge waste of time and hassle for travelers, even if it does save money on an upcoming flight. Consequently, most flight credits go unused, forcing companies to waste up to 5% of their travel spend on flights each year

With self-service unused ticket management, travelers see their unused credits and how they can be applied throughout their search and booking experience, making it easy to apply their unused tickets before they expire.

Spotnana allows travelers to redeem flight credits for both EDIFACT-based GDS fares and NDC direct fares in our next-generation shopping interface.

Scenario 4: A traveler wants to upgrade their seat for a long flight

It’s not good for morale if your travelers are crammed into the back of a redeye flight because your business travel platform doesn’t support seat selection or upgrades.

Without self-service seat selection, travelers may not be able to select or purchase a seat until check-in. They can miss out on the best seat on packed flights if they don’t have the ability to select their seat during the booking process.

With platforms like Spotnana, travelers can not only select their seat when they are booking a flight but receive their loyalty entitlements as well. Travelers can also pay for ancillaries like Premium Economy seats with their own credit card if your program doesn’t permit upgrades on the company dime.

Scenario 5: A storm is coming and a traveler wants to get home early

Nobody wants to get stranded for days in a destination during a blizzard, hurricane, or wildfire. It’s common for travelers to cut a business trip short if inclement weather is on the way.

Travelers without the ability to make changes to their trips are at the mercy of long phone calls with travel agents or stuck on hold with their airline hoping there’s room for them to be accommodated on another flight. If everyone else is calling for help at the same time, it can take days to get back home.

With Spotnana, it’s easy for travelers to change their date and time of departure and benefit from having all available inventory at their fingertips. There’s no need to wait in long lines to talk to an agent or spend hours waiting on hold. 

Allowing your travelers to change and cancel their trips on a self-service basis unlocks cost savings for your program and better experiences for your employees. To find out more about how Spotnana’s industry-leading self-service capabilities can help, get a demo today.