Qantas has quietly introduced the next round of website functionality upgrades – this time, creating a dedicated portal for Qantas Business Direct (QBD) customers.
Seemingly in ‘soft launch’ phase, savvy business travellers – or rather, the people who organise their travel – can now go beyond the scope of their Frequent Flyer profile and manage travel on a whole new level.
Some genuine 'enhancements'
We use the 'e' word advisedly on Australian Business Traveller, given that it all too often means the exact opposite when employed by airlines, but the new Qantas Business Direct site introduces several features which will definitely make life easier for travel managers.
You can now view expenditure by month or year, and export all relevant booking particulars in bulk – including passenger, journey, ticket, fare, and tax details – in Microsoft Excel format, so the data can be more easily searched, incorporated into reports and even exported to another application.
The new suite of icons in the QBD portal makes tracking your spend across the various categories a rather simple task.
There are also two tiers of access: ‘travel arrangers’ can manage their company’s bookings and travellers, while ‘travel administrators’ enjoy a higher level of access.
Of course, one of the better QBD features is the ability to list and manage the company’s regular travellers, which fortunately keeps their Frequent Flyer information at close reach when it comes time to book.
But there are limitations...
Any modifications made to the company’s contact or traveller details aren’t completed on a live basis – rather, they are sent to the airline for manual processing and verification, which can take up to 3 business days to actually appear online.
Also, some basic testing revealed that surnames containing a space (e.g. ‘van der Walt’) are not permitted by the software, and can only be submitted as one word in mixed case.
This is sure to wreak havoc with international bookings, which must be made in the exact passport name, while potentially eliciting a wave of missing points claims when the software identifies a mismatch between a traveller’s name and that of their Frequent Flyer account.
Finally, while all bookings that bear a company’s ABN/ACN are included in the QBT financial reports, the ‘View Company Bookings’ link only appears to return bookings that have been made within the portal – which means that any bookings made in person, over the phone or through the ‘traditional’ website won’t (yet) be visible here until the next batch of monthly reports are generated.
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