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Travel Agents Are Costing Companies an Extra $3,500 on Airline Tickets on Corporate Trips

Molly Lombardo
Molly Lombardo
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14
minutes of reading

Background

  • Traditional travel booking methods are costing companies up to $140 extra per ticket on corporate travel, according to a new study by AllFly.
  • The average time taken to book a trip through email or phone calls was 122% longer than an online booking platform. 
  • Post-ticketing service needs are 28% higher for white glove bookings, indicating more delays and potential disruptions.
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The Challenge

Global business travel spend is set to surpass pre-pandemic levels in 2024, two years sooner than previously forecasted, according to the GBTA’s Business Travel Index Outlook report. The amount spent on corporate trips rose 47% to $1.03 trillion in 2022 and is expected to grow a further 32% in 2023. However, traditional travel booking methods, like emailing a travel agent or calling in for flight options, are costing companies up to $140 extra per ticket on corporate travel, according to a new study by leading online travel booking platform AllFly.And with an average business trip involving a group of 25, this means an overspend of $3,500.

The study, which analyzed 100 group travel programs, revealed that these more traditional methods, often referred to as "white glove service", result in significantly higher costs compared to online booking. The average ticket booked through white glove service came in 17% higher at a staggering $523, compared to $436 for online booking. The study, which analyzed 100 group travel programs, revealed that these more traditional methods, often referred to as "white glove service", result in significantly higher costs compared to online booking. The average ticket booked through white glove service came in 17% higher at a staggering $523, compared to $436 for online booking.

Kenny Totten, COO at AllFly, explains: “One of the primary reasons why using these traditional methods tends to be much more expensive is the type of technology used. Sabre and Amadeus are the two most popular Global Distribution Systems (GDS) used by travel agencies.

However, many of the world’s most popular airlines, such as American and United, are increasingly withholding their best fares from these GDS, opting instead to offer them through their own New Distribution Capability (NDC) channels or direct bookings.This means that companies relying on white glove service or manual, offline bookings may be missing out on substantial savings.

American and United account for up to 50% of our corporate travel bookings in some programs. Considering these airlines holding back their best fares from the GDS, it's clear that the white glove service is leaving significant money on the table. In these scenarios, upwards of 50 people per program could be paying as much as $140 more per ticket - a cost no company can afford in today's competitive landscape. Beyond cost, the study also highlighted the inefficiencies of white glove service. The average time spent booking a program through email or phone calls was 20 days, while online booking took only 9 days. Not only is this inconvenient for all involved, but the extended time gap between sourcing flights and completing the booking increases the chance of losing a good deal. While time is spent emailing or calling back and forth, deals can be snapped up and then you are back to stage one.

Additionally, post-ticketing service needs (the services and support required after booking) were found to be 28% higher for white glove bookings, indicating more delays and potential disruptions. The data speaks for itself: white glove service is outdated, expensive, and inefficient. In 2024, there's no reason companies should be stuck in the travel booking dark ages. Modern online platforms offer faster, cheaper, and more transparent booking experiences while keeping travelers empowered to find the best deals for themselves.

The Solution

By transitioning to online platforms, companies can unlock significant cost savings, streamline booking processes, and empower their employees for a more enjoyable and efficient travel experience.

AllFly’s online booking platform, Quest, is a modern take on legacy online booking tools. Quest is built for companies who often travel for team offsites, meetings, and events. AllFly is a venture-backed, corporate travel management platform that makes it easy for organizations to plan, book, and manage their everyday business and event travel. It is committed to helping companies save money, reduce complexity, and create unforgettable travel experiences for their employees.

More information on AllFly can be found here

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