Open booking refers to a travel booking approach where employees have the freedom to book their travel arrangements outside of the traditional corporate travel management system. Instead of using a designated platform, employees can book flights, accommodations, and other travel services directly through various channels, such as consumer travel websites, mobile apps, or directly with suppliers.
Principles of open booking generally aim to provide flexibility and empowerment to employees while maintaining some level of control and visibility for the organization.

Here are some key principles associated with open booking


1. Employee empowerment

Open booking principles prioritize employee empowerment, recognizing that they are capable of making informed decisions regarding their travel. It fosters a sense of trust and responsibility by allowing employees to take ownership of their travel arrangements. By giving employees the freedom to book independently, organizations acknowledge that they are best equipped to choose the options that align with their preferences and needs, leading to higher satisfaction and engagement.

2. Choice and flexibility

Open booking principles emphasize providing employees with a wide array of choices and flexibility when it comes to travel arrangements. Employees can explore different channels and platforms to find the most suitable flights, accommodations, and other travel services based on their preferences and requirements. This flexibility allows employees to tailor their travel experiences to their unique needs, whether it’s selecting specific airlines for loyalty benefits, choosing accommodations that align with their preferences, or booking transportation modes that best suit their itineraries.

3. Transparency and compliance

Open booking principles strike a balance between employee empowerment and organizational policies. While employees have the freedom to make their own bookings, there are typically guidelines and policies in place to ensure transparency and compliance. These policies may include preferred vendors, travel budgets, and expense reporting requirements. By maintaining a level of transparency and compliance, organizations can track and manage travel expenses, negotiate better deals with preferred vendors, and ensure alignment with corporate policies.

4. Expense tracking and reimbursement

Open booking involves mechanisms to track and report expenses incurred through independent bookings. Employees are usually required to provide proper documentation and receipts for reimbursement. This ensures that organizations have visibility into travel expenses and enables accurate reporting and financial accountability. By implementing streamlined expense tracking processes, organizations can manage reimbursements efficiently, provide transparency in financial transactions, and maintain compliance with expense policies and regulations.

5. Integration and consolidation

Open booking principles often involve the integration and consolidation of travel and expense management systems. By integrating different sources of travel data, organizations can centralize and consolidate information from various channels and platforms. This consolidation provides a comprehensive view of travel patterns, expenses, and trends, allowing organizations to make data-driven decisions, optimize travel policies, negotiate better deals with vendors, and identify potential cost-saving opportunities. Integration also streamlines administrative processes, enhances reporting accuracy, and reduces manual effort for both employees and finance teams.

6. Traveler support and assistance

While open booking gives employees the freedom to book independently, organizations typically provide support and assistance to ensure a smooth travel experience. This support can be in the form of dedicated travel desks, online chat support, or emergency assistance. By offering access to travel support services, organizations demonstrate their commitment to the well-being and safety of employees during their travels. Traveler support also ensures that employees have the necessary resources to address any travel-related challenges, such as flight disruptions, changes in plans, or unforeseen circumstances.

7. Duty of Care

Open booking principles recognize the organization’s duty of care towards its employees. This duty encompasses the responsibility to ensure the safety and well-being of employees during their travels. Organizations may implement measures to track employee itineraries, provide real-time updates on travel advisories, and offer emergency support in case of travel-related emergencies. By proactively addressing duty of care concerns, organizations prioritize the security and welfare of employees, regardless of whether they book through the designated travel management system or independently.

8. Data analysis and insights

Open booking enables organizations to gather and consolidate travel data from various sources, including employee bookings made through different platforms. By analyzing this comprehensive data, organizations can gain valuable insights into travel patterns, expenses, and trends. This analysis helps identify areas where travel policies can be optimized, such as identifying preferred airlines or hotels based on employee preferences and cost-effectiveness. It also enables organizations to negotiate better deals with vendors by leveraging data on booking volumes and patterns. Furthermore, data analysis can uncover potential cost-saving opportunities, such as identifying areas of excessive spending or optimizing travel routes.

Suggested Read: Corporate Flight Booking Benefits For Companies And Travelers

9. Continuous improvement


Open booking management principles foster a culture of continuous improvement in travel policies and processes. Organizations can gather feedback from employees who book independently and incorporate their input to refine existing policies. By actively monitoring industry trends and staying abreast of technological advancements, organizations can adapt their travel programs to incorporate new tools, platforms, and services that enhance the travel experience. Continuous improvement also involves regular evaluation of the effectiveness of travel policies and identifying areas where adjustments or updates may be necessary. This iterative approach ensures that the travel program remains aligned with the evolving needs and preferences of employees while maximizing cost savings and efficiency.

It’s important to note that the specific implementation of open booking principles can vary depending on the organization’s size, industry, and travel requirements. Organizations often develop guidelines and policies that align with their objectives while balancing employee empowerment and compliance needs.

Suggested Read: Understanding Group Travel Booking For Corporates

Open Booking FAQs

What is open booking?

Open booking refers to a trip booking where employees have the freedom to book their travel arrangements.

What are the key principles of open booking?

The key principles of open booking include employee empowerment, choice and flexibility, transparency and compliance, expense tracking and reimbursement, integration and consolidation, traveler support and assistance, duty of care, data analysis and insights, and continuous improvement.

How does open booking empower employees?

Employees get the power and confidence to plan their own travel with the help of open booking method.

What kind of choices and flexibility does open booking offer to employees?

Employees can look up to different platforms to explore flights, accommodations, and other travel services.


Pratyush is a traveling enthusiast who always looks for innovations in business travel management. He has 5 years of experience writing content on corporate travel management and working closely with expert business travel facilitators.