BLOG: The Cost of Booking Travel

How much time do your employees spend booking travel?  It’s a good question to ask and the answer may surprise you. For companies not yet partnered with a travel management company, their employees are likely booking their business trips on leisure travel and supplier websites. Air is booked on one site after comparing pricing on several sites and the same process is repeated for hotel and car. It can be an eye-opener when you consider the amount of time it takes an employee to book one trip and the cost associated with their time. A nice way to illustrate this is to think about an executive administrative assistant that earns $25 per hour and books all employee travel for their company.


This is how much time the employee spends researching and booking the trip:

Activity Research Minutes
Airlines  5 websites 30
Hotels  3 websites 15
Rental Cars  3 websites 15
Total: 60


If the employee books 500 trips per year, this is how the costs play out:

500 Trips
X  60 min/trip
=  500 hours
@  $25/hour
= $12,500


The cost to just book travel is significant and there are other downsides, as well. There is no one to assist with:

  • Changes to the itinerary
  • Special requests
  • Additional research
  • Emergency assistance

Now, let’s compare the above costs to book travel with those of a business that has partnered with a travel management company and set up an online booking tool.

Activity Research Minutes
Airlines Online booking tool 3
Hotels Online booking tool 3
Rental Cars Online booking tool 3
Total: 9


500 Trips
X  9 min/trip
=  75 hours
@  $25/hour
= $1,875


The time spent and associated cost is significantly less because the online booking tool provides all airline, hotel, and car rental options in one place, so price comparisons are fast and easy. The company’s travel policy is integrated into the tool, as well, so employees always know if they are booking in or out of their company’s travel policy. Other benefits the travel management company provides are as follows:

  • Personal assistance
  • Reporting
  • Quality control
  • 24-hour service
  • Negotiated contracts
  • Avoidance of costly errors
  • Business travel communications


The services and technology are available to reduce the costs associated with booking your organization’s travel, so there’s no time like the present to start saving and streamline the travel booking process for your employees. To learn more, contact the Travel Leaders / Destinations Unlimited Corporate Travel Division.