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FREQUENCY OF TRAVEL


I travel too much: the volume of travel: I’m happy with


I would rather travel more:


20.6% 72.9% 6.5%


Source: Chrome River


was the top enjoyment factor for UK road warriors. This was followed by the ability to “travel in style” by flying in a premium cabin and staying in a higher category hotel; the ability to add leisure days on to a work trip (known as bleisure); and earning loyalty points to use for personal travel. Chrome River’s study also revealed that


giving travellers the choice of which sup- pliers they used, including airlines, hotel companies and car rental firms, helped to significantly improve satisfaction levels. Business travellers who classified them- selves as “unhappy” had much lower levels of freedom when booking suppliers. These findings are probably not hugely surprising for any experienced buyer. But what can be done to tackle these issues to make life better for travellers, without im- pinging or threatening their organisation’s main priorities, such as increasing compli- ance levels? This is even more challenging


BETTER BUSINESS TRAVEL


more willing to travel for business:


Makes employees Improves morale:


Promotes professional development:


82% 81%


Renews employees’ commitment to their job:


77%


Improves employees’ focus:


Helps provide better work/life balance:


77% 76% 71%


Source: American Express Global Business Travel


BUYINGBUSINESSTRAVEL.COM BENEFITS OF


in an era when cutting costs is usually at the top (or very near the top) of the buyer’s key performance indicators (KPIs).


TECH SOLUTIONS Technology is regularly cited as a panacea capable of solving at least some of the po- tential disconnect between what a traveller and their employer want when it comes to business trips. But the managed travel industry is frequently criticised for its supposed slowness in creating the kind of technology travellers already enjoy when booking leisure trips. Online booking tools (OBTs) and other corporate platforms are undoubtedly be- coming more sophisticated and pulling in bookings from a wider range of suppliers and sources. Information is also starting to be incorporated into these tools – from live data about train and flight delays to the latest Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) travel advisories, and even crime information to ensure travellers don’t stay in the “wrong part of town” (see panel, p68). There is also a growing feeling that busi-


ness travellers need their own corporate- focused tools to assess the appropriateness of the hotels and other services they are booking, rather than relying on leisure- based review sites such as Trip Advisor. Simone Buckley, who formerly headed up


the Institute of Travel Management (ITM) and who is now chief executive of TMC Fello, says: “We had a client who booked a hotel in Phoenix after reading a few reviews on Trip Advisor. But when they talked to colleagues they were told that the hotel was on the wrong side of town, so we changed it for them.” Some companies have developed their


own internal reviews systems, particularly for hotels, where travellers can leave reviews and ratings to get around these issues. There are also sites such as Tripism, which allow business travellers to share recommenda- tions and tips, as well as providing feedback and data insights to buyers about suppliers. But relying too much on reviews from business travellers can become a double- edged sword, particularly on subjects such as hotels where an individual simply may not like a certain property or brand for personal reasons. Steve Banks, director of business devel-


opment at Capita Travel and Events, says: “I don’t think you want the Trip Advisor approach where somebody says they just don’t like that hotel for personal reasons, even though the hotel is the best solution for the organisation.


BBT July/August 2018 65


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