Booking your next business trip? Self-serve vs corporate travel management companies 

Martin Go
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Contrary to the assumptions of many, the economic outlook is not affecting companies’ decisions when it comes to business travel. Based on the findings of a recent report, 46% of travel managers say their program’s budget is higher than the previous year, while 41% say it’s the same. It’s high time to consider acquiring corporate travel management companies.

Stats also show that travel managers are increasingly open to using online booking tools when planning a business trip. However, many of them still rely on self-serve business travel or online travel agents. The former refers to tools that allow users to book flights to accommodations directly, while the latter refers to online companies that arrange and organize your entire travel itinerary based on your budget and preferences.

Let’s discuss how these two solutions compare to corporate travel management companies.

A quicker and more efficient booking process

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Self-serve tools are certainly a revolution compared to the older days when you had to call up the airline and book flights one by one. With self-serve business travel, all you need to do is fill out a few digital forms. However, before finding the solution that fits your needs, you may have to enter this information multiple times, especially if you use different self-serve tools.

This can be avoided by using the same online travel agency every time and having it save your information, so you don’t have to enter it again. However, you will give up control of the booking process and have to rely on the agent’s knowledge and expertise in selecting the best available options.

Using a travel management company like TruTrip will give you access to online booking tools and an unrivalled database of transportation and accommodation service suppliers while also allowing you to save your personal information and preferences for each traveller or team. 

Moreover, you’ll still have the option of outsourcing the booking process to an expert by using our Concierge feature, which can come in very handy in case you can’t seem to find the combination of flight, hotel and other services that best suits your needs.

More than just cheaper fares

Travel managers need their business travel management operations to be as efficient as possible. This means keeping costs down while still ensuring the travel safety of their employees on the road and the achievement of their business goals.

While using self-serve booking tools may allow you to find some great deals, managers trying to reduce costs need a more systematic and comprehensive approach to expense management. This is necessary to make cost reductions sustainable and ensure you don’t exceed budget limits.

A TMC company like TruTrip can help you achieve this in multiple ways. By benchmarking on all flights, it can offer fares that are cheaper or the same as online travel agents 98% of the time. Moreover, it allows you to set policies to ensure travellers book their flights early enough to take advantage of cheaper fares.

Simplifying the payment process

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Using a corporate travel management company can also improve flexibility regarding payments. While using traditional self-serve tools typically requires travellers to pay out of their own pocket (and later ask for reimbursement), a solution like TruTrip allows companies to integrate corporate cards into the platform, allowing travellers to use them to book trips.

Moreover, TMCs allow managers to set spending limits for individuals, teams or groups, as well as determine which bookings require management approval before being authorized.

Modifying your bookings with ease


Those who frequently use self-serve tools and online travel agents often complain about difficulties when trying to modify their bookings. While some websites let you modify your booking online, the surcharge is often very high, which leads users to submit tickets or call customer service. This process can make the booking modification very lengthy and costly.

Using modern TMCs like TruTrip can avoid these complications by allowing users to easily modify bookings in one tab and by keeping extra costs to a minimum.

Over time, this can allow your company to achieve significant savings compared to a scenario in which you use traditional online self-serve tools and online travel agents.

Get flexibility on your cancelled trips

Those working on corporate travel management tasks know that trips may have to be cancelled for various reasons, ranging from employees falling ill to clients or suppliers withdrawing from a negotiation.

More often than not, these cancellations end up resulting in high costs, as most online travel agents and self-serve tools don’t allow you to get a full refund in the event of cancellations, especially within a certain number of weeks from departure.

In contrast, TruTrip offers a money-back guarantee, regardless of the reason why you need to cancel a booking. For companies whose workers travel very often, this can make a huge difference. Over time, getting your money back on cancelled trips can result in significant savings and positively impact the company’s overall bottom line.

Additional benefits of using corporate travel management companies

In addition to the aforementioned advantages, corporate management travel companies also offer a range of other features that are tailored to the specific needs of travel managers and business travellers. These features are hardly available when using traditional self-serve booking tools and online travel agents. Let’s have a look at some of the most important ones.

Post-travel reports: TMCs provide detailed analysis of travel patterns, costs and other metrics. These reports can be used to assess the effectiveness of managing business trips and make sure that the company’s money is being used in a way that is aligned with its strategy.

Automated invoices: Automated invoices allow companies to track and reconcile their spending quickly.

Business travel workflow: Corporate travel management companies allow managers to streamline their business travel workflow and save time on travel-related tasks. They can set up policies or approve bookings in a matter of seconds.

Start using solutions that are tailored to all your needs

Companies that want to achieve maximum travel management efficiency and effectiveness may find it difficult when only using a limited range of tools. While traditional self-serve and online travel agents have their benefits, they lack the number of integrated features needed for cost-effective, result-oriented and sustainable corporate travel.

That’s where modern corporate travel management companies like TruTrip can make a difference. From automated invoices to a money-back guarantee on cancelled trips, TruTrip offers companies the full spectrum of tools and services they require to achieve impactful travel management results. Book a demo or sign up for a free trial to experience the benefits of TruTrip directly.