Open Bookings seems to have become a four letter word for some in the industry…either good or #$%&. I don’t think it's very productive to make this about winners or losers, or about good guys or bad guys. Some even talk as if it is black or white … as if the traditional agency is somehow outdated and that open booking is the dark force trying to take over the industry.
I don’t think it is just a matter of traveler satisfaction either. If you’re a heavily controlled traveler, you’re likely to say you’re not too happy and want more freedom of choice. I think that’s natural.
What should wake people up is the fact that research shows that many travelers who feel less controlled actually save or spend less when traveling for business. That indicates you can trust people to make good decisions without hyper-directing them on the exact path to take.
And it is also a fact that some may not do what’s right whether they’re heavily managed or not. Many do go outside the system and abuse the situation intentionally, but we should not build systems for the abusers. We should build it for our travelers. We should understand the business they are in and their needs and provide them with the level of service that makes sense.
My view is very simple. Avoid stating that you’re going to manage and control their travel life. Instead, say you’re going to serve their door-to-door experience. Then do it, and do it well. If you know they have to be at a meeting in a city at a specific time – get them there. And, give them the tools to get them there and back safely, conveniently and with cost efficiency.