What is OBT?

Answered by Willie Powers

An OBT, or online booking tool, is essentially a digital platform that allows business travelers to book and manage their travel arrangements. It serves as the interface between the traveler and the various travel services and options available. Think of it as the online equivalent of a travel agent, where users can search for flights, hotels, car rentals, and other travel services, compare prices and options, and make bookings all in one place.

The purpose of an OBT is to streamline the travel booking process for business travelers, making it more efficient and convenient. Instead of having to call or email various travel providers or go through a travel agent, travelers can simply log into the OBT and have access to a wide range of options at their fingertips. This can save a significant amount of time and effort, especially for frequent travelers or those who have complex itineraries.

One of the key features of an OBT is its integration with a Travel Management Company (TMC). A TMC acts as a partner to the OBT, providing access to inventory, support, and additional services. The TMC is responsible for ensuring that the OBT is up to date with the latest travel options and that any issues or concerns raised by travelers are addressed promptly.

When using an OBT, travelers typically start by entering their travel details, such as the destination, dates, and preferred class of service. The OBT then searches its database to provide a list of available options, including flights, hotels, and car rentals. Users can apply various filters and preferences to narrow down the results and find the most suitable options.

Once travelers have selected their preferred options, they can proceed to the booking stage. The OBT will guide them through the necessary steps, such as entering passenger details, making payment, and confirming the booking. Some OBTs also offer additional features, such as the ability to store frequent traveler information, track expenses, or access travel policy guidelines.

The benefits of using an OBT are numerous. First and foremost, it provides a convenient and user-friendly way to book travel arrangements. Travelers can access the OBT at any time, from anywhere with an internet connection, allowing for flexibility and accessibility. This is particularly useful for business travelers who may need to make last-minute bookings or changes to their itineraries.

Moreover, an OBT can help businesses save money by providing access to negotiated rates and discounts. Through its integration with a TMC, the OBT can tap into the TMC’s relationships with travel suppliers and secure preferential rates for its users. This can result in significant cost savings, especially for companies with a large volume of business travel.

Another advantage of using an OBT is the ability to track and manage travel expenses. Many OBTs offer reporting and analytics features that allow businesses to monitor and analyze their travel spending. This can help identify areas of overspending or potential cost-saving opportunities, leading to more informed decision-making and better control of travel budgets.

In my personal experience, using an OBT has greatly simplified the process of booking business travel. As a frequent traveler, I appreciate the convenience and efficiency it offers. I can quickly search for flights, compare prices, and make bookings without the need to contact multiple airlines or travel agencies. The ability to access my travel details and itineraries in one place also makes it easy to stay organized and keep track of my trips.

An OBT is a valuable tool for business travelers and companies alike. It streamlines the travel booking process, provides access to a wide range of options, and helps save time and money. By leveraging the power of technology, OBTs have revolutionized the way business travel is managed, making it more efficient, convenient, and cost-effective.