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New Tool for Travel Alternatives Set for Launch

June 23, 2011 | William Zimmerman
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A new tool offering buyers fully costed alternatives to travel is due to be launched by the end of the year. 

The Virtual Meetings software being developed by Sabre and Get There will give travel managers an on screen comparison of the cost of trips and video conferencing.

Guy Snelgar, head of business development EMEA for Get There, said that in the past people had used the travel manager to arrange trips and the IT department for video conferencing and Telepresence.

Speaking exclusively to ABTN at the Business Travel Market in London, he said the new tool would put Telepresence costs on the GDS screen which displayed flights, fares and hotel costs.

"The information could be governed by the company's travel policy and look at the cost of flights and the reason for the trip. If there was £500 difference, the travel manager might say 'take the trip' but of the difference was £3,000, he might say 'do it with Telepresence'.

"For the first time, Get There has done something that is not travel. It would seem like turkeys voting for Christmas. But companies in the US like Black and Decker and Cisco now have a policy of moving internal meetings to Telepresence.

"They are not cutting their travel budget but using it exclusively for external meetings. They see Telepresence as a complement to their travel programme," he said.

Snelgar said Virtual Meetings was the first fully integrated tool for travel alternatives.

He said the costs of travel alternatives would be accurately costed and buyers offered quotes. "If a company has a Telepresence facility in London and wants to link up with its office in Singapore which does not have the equipment, the software will find and quote possible locations," Snelgar said.

"The challenge for a lot of companies is 'What will your travel policy be?' A lot have a loose policy on meetings and this will give them guidance," he said.

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