ONLINE USAGE GROWS - WITH THE RIGHT TOOL
FOR AUSTRALIAN GLOBAL CORP PROTECTION COMPANY NUFARM, Serko® ONLINE TURNED SELF-BOOKING FROM A HINDRANCE TO A VITAL BUSINESS TOOL.
The Nufarm head office in Melbourne had failed to implement a self-booking tool provided by a global TMC (Travel Management Company) and when its travel management contract expired, it made a locally produced SBT (Self Booking Tool)a key element in its tender, according to Australian Operations Manager, Mick O'Donnell.
Nufarm selected another global Travel Management Company, TQ3, as their TMC a few years back, and immediately saw the benefits of Serko® Online. "Our adoption rate with the previous tool was about 13% and going downward, but when we switched to Serko®, it kicked off at 70% and has continued to rise ever since," O'Donnell says.
ENHANCED SCREEN DISPLAY ACHIEVED 70% ADOPTION ON ONE DAY
The 23 Nufarm bookers responded instantly to the enhanced visibility of airline inventory which they saw as a huge step forward to the previous "cross your fingers and see what you get" process with the global tool.
O'Donnell sees Serko® Online's ability to display Nufarm's choice of airline class and generate instant itineraries as valuable features of the tool. "The ability to see the choices and the costs has been empowering and made a big difference to our travel spend," he points out.
HOW Serko® ONLINE PROVIDED A SEAMLESS TRANSITION WHEN NUFARM SWITCHED TMC's
Nufarm has recently switched from CWT to Voyager Travel Corporation, a process made significantly easier by retaining the same booking tool. "We made sure we Had all our traveller profiles and policy data in place before the switch, so there was almost no disruption," he explains. "Bookers saw a familiar screen when they went in to make bookings, and all of their deals, policies and traveller details were there - the same as before."
The Nufarm team place a lot of emphasis on working with a local technology provider after their experience with a global tool. O'Donnell cites system maintenance as an example. With the global tool, that was sometimes done during peak Australian demand time - at the most convenient for United States users. That, he insists, never happens with Serko® Online.
According to John Challis, Serko® Online's Australian Sales Manager, the Nufarm experience has a number of important lessons. "Firstly, just using an online booking tool is no guarantee of savings," he says. "Using the wrong tool will actually cost you more and add to user frustration."
"A second valuable lesson is to use locally developed tools. Local developers understand local conditions," he says, "and build them into the tools from the ground up. Because we're in the market, we're quick to adapt the market changes," he adds. "The Nufarm experience also demonstrates the when you use the right tool, it's easy to switch travel suppliers. Proprietary tools can lock corporates into a relationship with one TMC, but because Serko® Online is so widely used, customers can pick and choose," he explains.
"Another key message," John Challis says, "is that success in travel management comes from making it all fit together - crafting the right policy, working from a TMC that understands your needs and choosing a SBT that meets the needs of all the parties involved."
A MOVE TO Serko® ONLINE HAS SAVED US HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS
Nufarm, with a travel spend of around $5million p.a., has around 260 travellers who do about 85% of their travel domestically.
O'Donnell says the move to Serko® Online, together with a switch of TMC, user training and some other policy changes, has delivered savings in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.