May 29, 2023

OBTs not being used to promote sustainability

Almost all travel programmes (96%) use an online booking tool but few use their OBT to promote sustainability, according to research by the GBTA and FCM.

Fewer than half of travel managers say their OBT shows carbon emissions in search results (44%) or displays lower emission flights higher in search results (10%).

Only 4% of OBTs provide sustainability messaging and only 2% are configured to exclude less sustainable options from search results.

The research, carried out earlier this year with 309 travel managers based in the US, Canada, Europe and Asia Pacific, found 59% travel managers include technology as one of the most important factors when selecting a TMC, ahead of costs/fees and account management quality and support.

But 42% also include technology as one of the top pain points.

The study found widespread interest in chatbots, with 70% of travel managers interested in artificial intelligence-enabled chat.

But despite strong interest, chatbots are largely not a reality for most travel programmes, with fewer than half of those surveyed saying their TMC app includes a chatbot that can answer traveller questions (44%) or can help travellers make bookings (29%).

Travel Managers are widely interested in using AI to enhance reporting (87%), data cleansing (82%), personalization of search results (78%), and auditing of expense reports (62%).

When asked about their understanding of the New Distribution Capability (NDC) 30% say they know “some but have more to learn,” while one in five say they know “virtually nothing” or only “a little” about NDC (20% each).

While one in five (21%) travel managers report their program offers NDC content through their TMC/OBT, a third (34%) are unaware if their TMC/OBT offers NDC content – suggesting NDC is not top of mind among many travel managers.