Amadeus has been taking the pulse of the business travel community to try to establish a more touchy-feely relationship between travellers and travel managers while still balancing the needs of the business and the traveller’s own priorities.
The global distribution giant is urging managers to reach out and get feedback more often as well as add value by pushing more of the simple point-to-point trips online and freeing themselves up for complex itineraries and cost saving via analysis of behavioral patterns.
Headlines findings are:
- a tipping point in the ability to book travel online with 66% now able to book through a corporate tool but just over a third (34%) able to book via mobile or tablet
- 51% made changes to travel plans during 2012 with 37% amending flights while on the go. However, only 30% felt the travel department had been ‘very effective’ in making the changes.
- 34% say they went off plan in terms of travel policy but this increased to 51% of those who made 11 or more trips and 18% went off plan at least five times during the year
- 62% say convenience is their top priority when travelling for business, 22% say cost and 15% say comfort
- Only 51% say they understand their company’s travel policy fully, 47% say the travel department neither helps nor hinders the business, 15% say it is a hindrance
Amadeus says the 21st Century Business Traveller study was designed to get an overall picture so we don’t know what company security policies are in regards to mobile apps or how far travel departments were consulted over changes and amendments to bookings.
The company now wants to use the findings to stimulate debate around travel policy compliance and the role of technology.
Marketing director Rob Sinclair-Barnes says:
“There needs to be a step shift in the way policies are managed and the relationship with the traveller. It’s nothing more than listening to what travellers do in the real world.
People are broadly accepting of booking tools but it’s Â question of the adoption and the acceleration of that and where resource and time could be better spent. I believe we’re on that tipping point and by better connecting travellers with travel management companies and buyers we’ll get a shift change where people evolve into much more seamless but supported self-managed travel.”
He adds that technology is enabling travellers to self-manage but they want what they do in leisure travel to be reflected in their business travel.
Sinclair-Barnes also says that a second phase of the research will go deeper to understand areas such as out of policy changes, how more flexibility might be introduced and where technology can be deployed more effectively.
A Carlson Wagonlit Travel survey published last week also threw up the gap between travel manager priorities and traveller experience.
The 400 survey participants are from companies of 250 employees or more with documented travel policies in place. The majority, 70% are in manager or more senior roles and 17% are aged 18 to 34 with 12% of those already in manager roles.
ICM Research surveyed 400 UK and Ireland business travellers for the Amadeus Business Travel Insights: the 21st Century Business Traveller report.
NB: Airport image via Shutterstock