The manual booking businesses were thriving in the pre-internet age. Both leisure and business travelers made telephone calls and used paper-based forms while booking essential business travel products like flights and hotels.
But business and leisure travel nowadays take place in the age of Web 3.0. Most firms have automated business travel booking completely by implementing travel and expense management software for small businesses. Likewise, online travel booking sites are already massively popular with leisure travelers.
The massive popularity of online travel booking sites has impacted the manual booking business directly and drastically. We can understand and assess the transformative impact by discussing the major reasons why travelers abandon manual booking systems for online booking sites.
11 Ways Online Travel Booking Sites Impacted Manual Booking Business
- Facilitating Self-Booking
Multiple phone calls were an integral part of the manual travel booking process. A traveler has to make and answer several phone calls to book the desired travel products. Travel booking ports make manual booking business obsolete by facilitating self-booking. A traveler can use booking websites to compare, choose, and book business travel products without making or answering phone calls.
- Supporting On-the-Go Booking
Most travelers find comparing and booking business travel products convenient after business hours. They can access online booking sites 24 hours a day using various devices – laptops, desktops, smartphones, and tablets. Hence, they can use mobile devices to complete business travel bookings regardless of location.
- Extending Travel Choices
While booking business travel manually, a traveler had to choose from travel products suggested and recommended by travel agents. Hence, he needed help to compare and evaluate various travel products and suppliers.
Online travel sites enable travelers to choose from a wide range of products and services provided by various suppliers and vendors. Also, travelers can shortlist and compare products according to their travel choices and budget.
- Reducing Rates
Manual reservation systems made it difficult for travelers to book products at lower than market rates. They could not know the discounts provided by travel suppliers due to the absence of transparency.
Online booking sites help users compare travel products and discounts provided by individual vendors. Some sites even use artificial intelligence (AI) to allow users to detect the best deals and offer suppliers provide.
- Digitizing Invoices
Paper-based forms and invoices were an inseparable part of manual business travel booking. A traveler had to share the required information by filling in paper-based forms. Likewise, they needed to efficiently store and manage paper-based invoices, bills, and receipts.
Online booking sites enable employees to generate digital invoices. Digital invoices help employees manage and track business travel expenses. Also, digital invoices make it easier for work travelers to generate automated expense reports using expense management software.
- Increasing Payment Options
In the age of manual travel booking, cash and cheques were standard payment methods. Many manual booking businesses needed to be accepting debit or credit cards. But online travel booking sites enable users to use various payment methods. In addition to using Internet banking and cards, travelers now have the option to use digital wallets and cards at the time of business travel booking.
- Preventing Financial Fraud
Financial fraud and scams were common in the age of manual travel booking. Unscrupulous travel agents committed certain types of financial fraud. Likewise, the lack of payment security created opportunities for several forms of scams.
Online travel booking sites use secure and reputable payment gateways. Further, they minimize the chances of fraud and scams by not storing sensitive customer information. Travelers also have the option to choose reliable booking sites by reading reviews and comments posted by other travelers.
- Simplifying Cancellations and Changes
Many manual booking businesses did not assist travelers to cancel or rebook tickets. Travelers can cancel and reschedule bookings directly through the online travel booking portal. Some booking websites help travelers reduce cancellation fees.
- Eliminating Human Errors
The manual booking process could have been more error-prone. Travelers have to share information with travel agents over the phone. Also, travel agents have to book travel products manually. The human errors created several problems for travelers during onboarding and check-ins.
Online travel portals allow travelers to share information directly and accurately. Hence, the chances of data entry errors are eliminated completely. The absence of errors helps travelers avoid unnecessary issues and conflicts during trips.
- Providing Travel Support and Assistance
Travel websites beat manual booking systems in the category of customer support. Most online travel booking sites these days provide 24/7 customer support. They enable employees to get the required information instantly by deploying AI-powered chatbots.
Also, leading travel websites enable travelers to interact with human customer service executives by making phone calls or sending instant messages. Hence, it becomes easier for travelers to get the required information and assistance without any hassles and delays.
- Enhancing Data Security
Unlike manual booking businesses, travel booking portals optimize data security. They safeguard travelers’ sensitive and financial data by installing robust firewalls and advanced encryption technologies. Enhanced data security enables travelers to share various data without worrying about cyber crimes. They can speed up travel bookings by allowing the website to store information securely.
The massive popularity of online travel booking sites resulted in the steady decline of manual booking businesses. Leisure travelers use various travel websites to complete business travel bookings using their smartphones or tablets.
Likewise, business travelers book business trips using the travel and expense management software for small businesses implemented by employers. Hence, manual booking systems have already become obsolete in the age of Web 3.0.
Millennial travelers have yet to gain experience in making business travel booking traditionally. Also, older travelers no longer book business trips manually. Hence, each manual booking business must transform its workflow digitally through process automation to remain relevant in the era of intelligence technologies.