Whether travel managers are aware of it or not, their travel program has a reputation that shapes employees’ behaviors.
It may be that your travelers see the program as overly strict and not offering enough supplier flexibility. In that case, they may rationalize to themselves that because it’s too stringent, it’s necessary for them to stray from the policy.
Or perhaps they perceive it as lax and recognize there is little oversight. Therefore, they may test to see just what kind of luxuries they can get away with.
Maybe they are content to follow along because they see the travel department’s management style as firm but fair and that it works toward balancing the company’s cost-savings objectives with their own satisfaction.
How about the travel risk management aspect of the program? Do travelers feel confident the company will be available to assist them during an emergency? And do they feel that all the time they are spending on the road is appreciated and that their well-being is a company priority?
Knowing what an impact these factors can have on how the travel program is perceived, we were curious about these questions ourselves and took it a step further. To understand what corporate travelers’ think about their programs, American Express Global Business Travel teamed up with the research firm GfK to conduct an international survey spanning seven countries. Travelers from the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Australia, India and Singapore were polled about everything from policy compliance to travel benefits and challenges as well as their views on topics like traveler-monitoring technologies and bleisure travel for our “Traveler 360°” report.
From our findings, it appears companies across the world are doing a fine job of making their traveling employees feel supported during their trips. Three-quarters or more of each group said their programs offered enough choices and flexibility for their travel arrangements. And 80 percent or more were confident that their company could offer reliable assistance when a travel disruption occurs.
But there are a few areas where companies may need to work on boosting their travelers’ perceptions. For instance, when asked if their company has their safety in mind when they travel for business, only 59 percent of Singaporeans, 70 percent of Brits and 73 percent of Germans and Australians answered in the affirmative. Companies ranked even lower when it came to travelers’ personal welfare, with only 51 percent of respondents from Singapore, 62 percent from Australia and the United Kingdom and 63 percent from the United States saying their workplace cares about their well-being. And you don’t even want to know how poorly organizations in all countries scored on work-life balance.
A majority of travelers in France, Germany, the U.K., India and Singapore also gave low marks when it came to the clarity of their travel policies, noting that the guidelines for booking business travel and the expense reporting process are not clear.
Another gripe many participants had about their programs? That the process of putting together expense reports is time-consuming, with Indians feeling that the most (79 percent) and Americans the least (57 percent). A majority of respondents in all countries except the U.S. also say the process to get reimbursed takes too long.
Finally, a significant percentage of survey respondents outside the U.S. see obstacles to companies enhancing business travel, saying that such changes may be difficult to implement considering how current booking and expense systems are set up. This seems to suggest that travelers don’t have much hope that their experience will be improved upon.
So how can these findings help you in developing your own program’s brand? They help you to see things from a traveler’s perspective.
Of course, not all of the findings in our report will apply to your travel program. Ultimately, you may consider doing your own poll to learn your travelers’ unique impressions of the program and figure out if their opinions fit in with what you want the travel program to be known for.
But if you wish to take a closer look at the results of the “Traveler 360°” report for inspiration on what areas to focus on during your own (re)branding efforts, fill out the form below and then click on the “Submit” button. You then will be redirected to a new screen where you can download a copy.
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