Amadeus finds disgruntled business travellers in state of the nation study

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

The GDS also drew insight from the hosted travel buyers of the forthcoming Business Travel Show with 43% saying they only consult travellers annually on travel policy.

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  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

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About the Writer :: Linda Fox

Linda worked at tnooz from September 2011 to June 2018 in roles including senior reporter, deputy editor and managing editor.

 

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  1. Timothy O'Neil-Dunne

    I think the survey didn’t really show another key ingredient in the whole battle for the corporate wallet. As we all know Corporate Travel is higher yielding than leisure travel. Yet we also know that Corporate Travel as a share of total travel is falling.

    Perhaps it is wise to pick beneath the surface to determine why Corporate Travel still remains expensive. conventional wisdom has the answer. Close in more frequently changing trips demand higher prices.

    But there is a hidden secret that is self evident. If discipline is imposed on the travellers through corporate policy does that automatically result in lower costs and higher functionality for the travellers than say other control mechanisms such as budget levels delegated to the cost centre holder. We are being told frequently that adoption of Booking Engines in Corporate is rising according to the survey 65% CAN book through a corporate tool. The question has to be asked as to WHAT percentage of trips is actually booked “touchless” through all the corporate systems today. I would suggest that the percentage remains stubbornly low. (And let’s not dive into the user satisfaction and efficiency of these tools).

    On the other hand use of public web booking tools are generally more functional than the corporate ones. Thus the consumer has more control and can achieve the results faster.

    I have spoken (anecdotal evidence therefore) to several mid size companies who have taken the bold step of dumping restrictive corporate policies and replacing them with budget based controls. They report lower costs, happier users and less administrative hassles. Concur and Rearden Commerce et al are now putting in strong controls on financial spend (credit card, expense reports etc.) Thus one has to question whether the ultimate value of a corporate policy led, travel agency enforced and GDS powered travel is more or less cost effective than budget led travel controls. I would posit that they are largely mutually exclusive paths.

    Many younger more dynamic companies with the same fiscal controls and constraints as conventional companies will tell you that they can do much better on their own than via old line solutions.

    Am I advocating the end of the TMC/CTD/GDS triumvirate of Corporate Travel Management? Well just maybe. At least I am arguing that with right corporate budgets in 2013 don’t you owe it to yourself to ask that question and at least investigate ways to implement it? And that is not something the Amadeus study asked.

    Cheers

     
 
 

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