About one-third of 139 travel buyers/managers surveyed in February-March by The BTN Group and Travel and Transport said they had considered the pros and cons of open booking while another 29 percent said they expected to do so in the next six months. The remaining 38 percent said they hadn’t evaluated the merits. Interestingly, 128 other buyers who answered questions about other emerging topics on the survey, skipped the open booking questions.
Proponents contend that open bookings are the traveler-centric solution to appease a new generation of travelers, the millennials, who don’t want to be told where and what to book. They also point to the rapidly developing technologies,apps, distribution options and supplier promotions that an open booking strategy would allow travelers to tap into. Opponents argue that open bookings portend the end of managed travel as we know it and warn of the loss of negotiated discounts, savings, data and information for duty of care programs. And they note that an open bookings strategy would generate other costs to garner data and service travelers.
Travel and Transport’s white paper, developed in conjunction with the BTN Group, will explore the opportunities that have prompted some to embrace the concept, as well as the challenges for managed travel programs, travel management companies and others in the managed travel ecosystem.
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