Book It! Using an online travel site has its advantages for small companies.
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The top three online booking sites, Expedia, Orbitz andTravelocity, are out to win your business. They're nowfull-service travel agencies with robust products to help smallcompanies save big when it comes to booking business trips. Is ittime to give them a try? Consider these advantages:
- Your own site: When you contract with Expedia, Orbitz orTravelocity, your company gets a private booking site. This sitelooks and feels just like the well-known consumer sites but isconfigured with details of your company's travel policy, makingcompliance automatic. Setup fees, which run in the $150 range, arefrequently waived.
- Lower transaction costs: When a business traveler callsa traditional travel agent, he or she is charged a fee for thebooking, which can range from $25 to $50. The big three onlineagencies charge $5 or $6 per online booking. (Agents are alsoavailable 24/7, but if you choose to call one, fees range from $15to $25.)
- Lower rates: Research shows that when business travelersare able to see all the air fares, hotel or rental car ratesavailable online, they choose less expensive options than when theyare talking to a travel agent on the phone. Savings are usually inthe 20 percent range. (Downside: Not all low-fare carriers, likeJetBlue Airways or Southwest Airlines, list fares on thesesites-they'd prefer you book on their sites instead.)
- Increased bargaining power: When all your company travelis booked through a single site, it provides you with hard data touse to negotiate special rates from airlines, hotels or car rentalcompanies.
- More control: You can assign different privileges fordifferent travelers and require "exception reports" whenemployees stray from your travel policy.
For more information, log on to www.expediacorporate.com, www.orbitz.com/business or www.travelocitybusiness.com.
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