Travel management companies are increasingly working with corporate travel managers, study finds
The Global Business Travel Association’s research arm, the GBTA Foundation, and Expedia’s Egencia explore just how travel management companies are partnering with corporate travel managers to provide specialized services for global travel programs.
Joseph Bates, GBTA’s Vice President of Research,
“As multinational corporations operate across the world, they are enlisting the help of travel management companies to bolster their programs by leveraging TMCs’ regional expertise and technology offerings to help them manage travel spend more strategically.
Global travel programs help control costs, manage risk and can function across any number of regions to support the business traveler.”
The GBTA survey included 1,429 travel managers in Asia, North America, Latin America and Europe, and found the following results:
- Travel managers pinpoint key capabilities of travel management companies as TMCs’ industry knowledge (96%), access to local rates (93%), and combined global coverage and local footprints (89%).
- Almost half of respondents (46%) stated their companies have global travel programs in place to ensure consistent policy enforcement.
- Other reasons propelling a full travel program are to manage risk (67%), compile program data (61%), and negotiate with suppliers at a global level (60%).
- More than half of those surveyed worldwide (54%) said TMCs have increased their knowledge of local issues around the world.
- 60% of travel managers feel that TMCs can now provide their companies with global service and support in extending their travel programs’ reach and capabilities.
- The developing markets of Latin America (70%) and Asia (68%) have seen a large increase in available travel management tools, like online booking and expense data.
The organization specifically points to the following policy challenges as areas of potential impact for TMCs and related technologies:
According to the travel managers surveyed, global travel programs help strengthen relationships with preferred vendors (75%), improve adherence to approved booking channels (68%), and communicate travel policy to employees (67%).
To improve global programs in the future, the majority of travel managers worldwide (76%) reported that they will look to TMCs to help with cost containment strategies (74%), integrate data (73%), and integrate new mobile technologies (65%). Most respondents worldwide (70%) noted that mobile devices are crucial to their global travel programs.
Cost savings and reporting technology remain the primary barriers, as not every country is created equal as far as cost and accessibility to technological solutions.
Regional differences also meant diverging concerns of the surveyed travel managers.
- North America: 57% of travel managers point to airline ancillary fees as the largest current challenge.
- Asia: Hotel costs (49%) and a lack of GDS information on ancillary services (49%) were at the top of regional challenges here.
- Latin America: A touch over 50% of those surveyed said that traveler safety and visa permits are areas for improvement.
- Europe: Two of the largest areas of concerns for those managing in this region are hotel costs (46%) and GDS information on ancillary services (41%).
Regarding the study’s results, Mark Hollyhead, Egencia’s senior vice president, Americas, sees the maturity of globalization as a final driver towards successful travel management.
“As more organizations think and act like global businesses, there are higher expectations for the managed travel industry to deliver faster and better solutions that remove complexity for the company and the traveler.
Companies will increasingly look to improve their global travel programs to further seek best value, control spending and ensure diligence in their duty of care. There will also be a rapidly growing interest in global programs demanding the best technology and service solutions for users.”
The Global Travel Management Study 2013 full report will be available on August 6, 2013, exclusively to GBTA members by clicking here. Non-members may purchase the report by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
NB: Business image courtesy Shutterstock.
Nick Vivion is a writer and strategist. He was a Tnooz reporter and global events lead between August 2012 and July 2015. He was the launch co-founder of Booty's, a global street food restaurant in New Orleans and was recently AVP Operations, North America, at Zomato.