Short’s Travel Management added new functionality to Bookit, its application that allows corporate travelers to shop for airfares anywhere they like. The new functionality is designed to make it easier for users to turn information from third-party sites over to the agency for booking.
“Not all websites have a ‘share’ function,” said David LeCompte, chief executive officer, explaining that not having one requires users to email details of their desired itineraries to the agency.
So Short’s added a pop-up button that appears when a user is on a third-party site. The traveler need only enter his or her email address and click on the BookIt button.
The application “pulls the information from the screen and shoots it to us,” LeCompte said.
“It’s not screen-scraping,” he added. “It’s capturing the individual user’s information.”
Bookit automatically checks the itinerary against any corporate discounts on the selected airline and against fares on other airlines.
If the itinerary meets corporate travel policy guidelines, it will be booked using the customer’s profile.
Not ‘open booking’
LeCompte stressed that this is not the controversial “open booking” concept that is being debated in the corporate travel sector.
Rather, he said, it is a “shop anywhere” approach.
“People care about where they shop,” he said. “They don’t care where it gets booked. They just want it to be easy.”
He believes there could be problems with open booking “that haven’t surfaced yet,” particularly issues with duty of care and unused airline tickets.
Right now, Bookit only works with flights, but LeCompte is hoping to extend its use to hotels late in the first quarter of this year.
“There’s a ton of leakage with hotels,” he said.
Short’s Travel Management has begun marketing Bookit to other travel management companies. “An agency in the Midwest will probably be our first customer,” he said.