14 November 2002 | David Arminas
A corporate culture of working online helped global IT firm Cisco Systems to move 70 per cent of its European travel booking on to its intranet quickly.
Debbie Winston, manager of travel meetings and events for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, for Cisco Systems, told delegates that the target was 25-40 per cent when Cisco's Corporate Travel Network (CTN) intranet site - a company-wide desktop computer system - for employees was launched in the UK in January.
Cisco bought the off-the-shelf booking system from a firm called GetThere.com, worked with American Express to customise it for Cisco's offices in the UK, the Netherlands and Belgium and branded it with the CTN label.
She suggested that take-up had been high because Cisco had a strict economy-class-only policy for all of its staff, and CTN allowed users to discover whether they had other options, despite the policy.
If employees tried to book outside travel policy rules, an e-mail was sent to their line manager, she added.
"Before CTN, an employee telephoned an American Express travel counsellor and it took around eight to nine minutes. CTN takes around three minutes," Winston added.
Cisco had not done a benefits and savings analysis, but Winston felt they were "substantial".
There were, however, some limitations to overcome. "We can't change or cancel reservations and there is as yet no facility for booking group travel."
The next phase will be to integrate France and the Nordic region into CTN and their target is for 50-70 per cent of bookings to be done online.