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REPORT BACK


WORDS MAT THEW PARSONS


UNLOCKING POTENTIAL


A


ROBUST TRAVEL CULTURE can act as a business enabler, while a weak one can stunt a company’s growth,


says Egencia’s new report, Travel Culture: Your Competitive Advantage in a Global Market. The report, produced in


association with Harvard Business Review, surveyed nearly 600 executives and found that more than half of respondents said their organisation’s main goal for travel management was either controlling costs or maintaining compliance with travel policy. Fewer than one in three said their organisation had a strong travel culture, and just over one-third (35 per cent) said their company’s approach to managing business travel was very effective.


TRAVEL BLITZ It’s no surprise that a TMC should extol the benefits of travel and face-to-face meetings, but at the report’s UK launch at Egenica’s Elevate conference in London, president Rob Greyber shared a concrete example. He described how one customer, a US-based technology start-up, nurtured a strong travel culture to expand. “The company had not yet built up a presence in Toronto, which was an important market for them in North America. So what do they do? Every month, they blitz Toronto. A bunch of them go and travel, and talk to people in the Toronto market, and the staff say it feels like they have an office there,” he said. “So travel is part of their


strategy. They’re not going to over-invest in new offices, but use travel to punch above their weight in the industry.”


34 NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2019 Greyber also said travel


can be seen as a tool to grow relationships – with an initial visit key to gaining trust. “At Egencia, we have to work a lot by phone and part of the challenge is that everyone on the other end of the phone is two inches tall… that little speaker phone. It’s easy to look down on someone who’s two inches tall. “And everybody at Egencia has a funny accent compared to someone else. We are a global company. How do you engender collaboration in a world where you’re always looking down at the flower arrangements in your


A new report, commissioned by Egencia, looks at the perceptions of ‘travel culture’ in business


conference room? Use travel as a way to build relationships, so when you go back, you’re able to collaborate more effectively.”


TOP IMPEDIMENTS The report also asked executives what the top three impediments were to business travel in their organisation, with 63 per cent stating limited funding/ budget for travel; 32 per cent complaining of inflexible travel policies/options; and 28 per cent stating the leadership does not see business travel as valuable. The report recommends that buyers create a travel culture


that drives results and travel managers should “connect the dots between the purpose of a trip and the ROI of a trip”, and cross-reference TMC data with other metrics, such as enterprise resource planning systems. n Download the report at egencia.com


DATA 31% 77% 81%


of respondents say


their company has a strong travel culture


of respondents who say


their company has a strong travel culture use a single TMC; only half of all other respondents said the same


BUSINESS TRAVEL ROADBLOCKS


Limited funding/ budget for travel


63%


Inflexible travel policies/options


felt travel gives them a greater awareness and empathy to their co-workers and customers


Percentage of respondents who said the following were among the top three impediments to business travel in their organisation


Leadership does not see business travel as valuable


32% 28%


Inefficient or unclear travel/expense processes


25%


Difficult to use travel/ expense systems


19% buyingbusinesstravel.com


HARVARD BUSINESS REVIEW ANALYTIC SERVICES SURVEYED 587 RESPONDENTS


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