Adoption of online booking tools in Asia-Pacific reaches tipping point, finds BCD Travel white paper

Adoption of online booking tools in Asia-Pacific reaches tipping point, finds BCD Travel white paper

OBTs driving savings, improved compliance for APAC travel programs

SINGAPORE, August 26, 2010 – Increasing numbers of corporate travel managers and buyers in the Asia-Pacific region are turning to online booking tools to drive savings, enhance effectiveness and improve compliance, according to a newly released white paper from BCD Travel.

The white paper, At the Tipping Point: Online Adoption and Mobile Technology in Asia-Pacific , explores the increasing spread of OBTs in APAC corporate travel programs, shows which elements of travel are best suited to OBTs, details the advantages that can be gained, summarizes key local obstacles to adoption and sets out best practices for implementation and adoption.

Available on the BCD Travel website, the paper also examines the potential for — and potential benefits of — development of mobile technology in the APAC corporate travel sector.

At the Tipping Point concludes that based on lessons learned in mature markets, including Europe and North America, corporate travel programs in APAC can use OBTs to reduce calls per transaction and reduce advance ticket prices, increase advance bookings and reduce after-hours calls.

For the white paper, the Association of Corporate Travel Executives (ACTE) in July conducted a survey of approximately 100 corporate travel managers and buyers with responsibility for APAC travel programs. The survey found that adoption of OBTs in APAC has reached a tipping point with nearly 45 percent of companies surveyed now using an OBT in at least one market. This is in spite of regulatory impediments in a number of important countries within the region and issues relating to industry practice.

The top driver behind OBT implementation in APAC is cost-saving, the survey found. Nearly 45 percent of early adopters cited that factor in influencing implementation. Other motivating factors cited by survey respondents, in order of importance, were enhanced effectiveness of their travel program (34.7 percent), improved travel policy compliance (34.7 percent), enabling of traveler selfservice (24.2 percent) and improved travel data coverage (19 percent).

Other key findings of the APAC travel manager survey include:

• Nearly 22 percent of the survey respondents said that online self-booking adoption rates have improved from 2009 to 2010.
• Markets that show promise for increasing OBT implementation and rising adoption rates include Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Singapore. These countries enjoy stable technology infrastructures; GDSs are free to operate without any restrictions; and Internet usage tends to be high.
• Barriers to online implementation and adoption in APAC include regulatory complexities and the limitation of access to local airfare content to supplier-controlled or dominated distribution systems.
• Use of smart phones and other mobile devices is growing at an enormous rate in the Asia-Pacific leisure market. Nearly 21 percent of the ACTE survey respondents said that more than 90 percent of their Asia-Pacific-based travelers now use smart phones or other Web-enabled hand held devices.

At the Tipping Point recommends that savvy travel managers take steps to get involved in their company’s deployment of mobile technology. The white paper recommends that online and mobile technologies be viewed as contributing elements of a single movement toward empowered travelers supported through these tools by companies who structure and manage their use.

About BCD Travel

BCD Travel helps companies travel smart and achieve more. We drive program adoption, cost savings and talent retention through digital experiences that simplify business travel. Our 15,000+ dedicated team members service clients in 170+ countries as we shape a sustainable future for business travel. BCD’s leading meetings and events management and global consultancy services complete our comprehensive suite of solutions for all aspects of corporate travel. In 2023, BCD achieved US$20.3 billion in sales. For more information, visit