15 Sep For Any Situation, There is a Solution
For the last decade and a half, it’s been a struggle for travel managers to strike the proper balance between full service and self-service platforms within their travel programs. As online booking tool penetration has grown substantially, so has mounting frustration from buyers and travelers for a perceived lack of innovation. Now, more than ever, a new generation of travelers is demanding a more convenient but personalized servicing platform.
Let’s take a look at two very common traveler situations.
The first involves Susan, a sales professional traveling to New York City for a meeting with a multi-national prospect. Everything seems to be going as planned en route to the airport, but just as Susan arrives she receives a notification that her flight is delayed due to a mechanical issue and will be delayed for at least two hours, possibly jeopardizing her making the prospect meeting. Today, Susan either talks to an airline representative about her options or calls her travel management company. Both typically involve her explaining the situation in detail, hoping for some creative alternative solutions and usually having to wait a significant amount of time either in line or on the phone.
The second situation involves Bob, who works for a large manufacturing company. Every few weeks he has to travel out to various plants for check-ins and meetings. His company requires him to use an online booking tool whenever possible due to lower processing fees. Despite doing these trips multiple times, Bob finds himself still logging into a booking tool, choosing dates, selecting similar flight schedules, preferred hotels and rental cars, etc. Despite the same routine, he finds himself spending six-eight minutes per trip to make his arrangements. While somewhat convenient and cost effective, he wonders why in this day and age the booking platform isn’t more aware of who he is and what his preferences or tendencies are.
A platform does currently exist that would make both these situations and countless others more convenient and personalized. That platform is called TL Connect, an award-winning, next generation communication network that is revolutionizing business travel communication by giving our clients a more efficient way to reach live customer service representatives through a direct mobile connection.
Let’s revisit those two situations again.
With TL Connect, Susan would have received a flight status notification on her mobile phone and instantly been connected to a customer service professional through either SMS or mobile chat messaging. That service professional would have already known her name, travel itinerary and the situation, allowing them to provide immediate alternative arrangements in just a few short minutes. Susan would be saved from the aggravation of waiting in a queue and having to explain her situation from the very beginning, and she’d be quickly rebooked and on her way to New York City for the sales meeting.
In Bob’s case, he sends a quick message to TL Connect through his computer or smartphone simply stating “I need to go to Des Moines again next Tuesday.” On the receiving end, the platform and service professionals immediately understand that this is Bob, he works for ABC Company and he prefers to book the 8am flight to Des Moines from Chicago and return on the 4pm flight home on Wednesday. His company has a preferred rate at the Hilton Garden Inn, and he is a Hilton loyalty member ensuring he gets the most economical rate plus his loyalty benefits. TL Connect and his service professional also understands that his company has a corporate agreement with National, and company policy dictates he reserve a mid-sized car. By just triggering this message via the platform, Bob starts this process and is able to have a very personalized, efficient service experience via TL Connect.
Now imagine that mid-trip, Bob needs to spend more time at the Des Moines plant. From his smartphone, he simply types, “I need some more time here. What are some later flight options?” On the receiving end of TL Connect, his service professional immediately recognizes this is Bob again and he’s booked on the 4pm flight from Des Moines to Chicago. They send him later options and ask him whether he’d like to confirm. No lengthy phone calls or trying to navigate an online booking tool for Bob. In a matter of minutes, he got his desired result and is amazed how much TL Connect understands him and his company’s policies.
If these situations seem all too familiar, then let us help your organization and employees connect to the digital age of business travel. TL Connect merges service and technology to revolutionize the way business travels.
David P. Holyoke, President, Travel Leaders Corporate