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TRAVELLER SATISFACTION


people. In the past, it was just a blanket communication.” Travellers may also be more responsive


to messages from the travel department when their organisation or industry is going through tougher economic times – a good example is the energy sector following the crash in oil prices three years ago. A buyer for a major energy company says


they effectively “market” the objectives of their programmes and policies to travellers to secure their buy-in and support. “Showcasing businesses that have suc-


ceeded through gamification and focusing on duty-of-care keeps the travel policy alive and healthy in people’s minds,” he adds. “Show someone tangible evidence of how


an OBT transaction is far cheaper than a phone call and they listen. They see how a small dollar-value difference multiplied a thousand times could mean the difference between someone’s job sticking, or some- one’s travel budget remaining for next year.”


BACK TO BASICS? It can be tempting to think that automation and technology are the solutions to improv- ing the business travel experience. But is there still a place for old-fashioned service? Fello’s Simone Buckley says the TMC


has recently picked up clients looking to move away from a technology-based service. These companies want to work with experienced agents who can find creative ticketing solutions thanks to their knowledge of their clients’ travel patterns and airline fares. “We have got some clients going back to basics, where they want a much better


TRAVELLERS BOOK WITHIN POLICY


Bonus days of annual leave:


going into paycheque: of money saved Percentage 45% programme:


44% Rewards


Company parties & activities:


No incentives required:


40% 27% 15%


Source: American Express Global Business Travel


INCENTIVES THAT WOULD MAKE


service for their chief executives and board directors, which can only really be provided by experienced TMC staff,” she adds. Another way companies can make life


more enjoyable for their business travellers is by enabling them to combine work trips with a holiday. These bleisure trips are not just a bonus for employees but can also be a win for buyers as the airfares can work out cheaper if they are travelling at weekends. Craig Liasi, senior director of product marketing, EMEA, at SAP Concur, explains: “With the right data visibility, they can see how these kinds of trips can save money. By incorporating these bleisure components into their corporate policy, a business could advise a traveller that by having a weekend away built into their trip, they could save substantially on flights.” A greater focus on traveller wellbeing


has also led to some corporates introducing policies stopping travellers from coming into the office after a long-haul overnight flight. For example, emergency consultancy Oil Spill Response operates a “rest days” policy for long-haul travellers “to combat fatigue and help to keep staff safe”. Creating these types of “win-win” situa-


tions is likely to be paramount in improving satisfaction levels among business travellers in the coming years. The continued focus on cutting costs means that it’s never going to be possible to please all of the people, all of the time. But technology – as well as savvy and experienced travel advisors for more complex itineraries – should help to find innovative ways to take the pain out of many business trips and find the right balance for travellers and corporates alike.


Blending the data


CLARITY TRAVEL MANAGEMENT has started to use crime figures to help its clients’ travellers make more informed decisions about where to stay in destinations both in the UK and beyond. Darren Williams, Clarity’s head of management information and data, says: “We use Foreign & Commonwealth Office data, but we are doing a lot of work incorporating


crime data into our data sets, blending both to overlay where travellers are staying, how they are getting there and where their hotel programme contains properties that may not be in the most appropriate areas. “We are currently working with the data that is published by the entire UK police network and are also exploring global crime data sets to get a wider spread in certain markets.”


68 BBT July/JAugust 2018


BUYINGBUSINESSTRAVEL.COM


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