Sometimes it’s necessary to take a step back to reassess, refocus and reprioritize in order to make changes that can elevate your corporate travel program. But we understand how difficult it can be to see the big picture when you are swamped with the day-to-day. So today we are sharing some goals that can make your program more effective and some action steps that can lead you there.
1. Meet your travelers’ demands
Corporate travelers today do not simply want a convenient, seamless, personalized travel experience — they are totally demanding it. When they can’t get what they want from the company’s booking tool or policy, they have no problem going elsewhere, often directly to a supplier or online travel agency’s website.
Since we only expect for this trend to accelerate this year thanks to AI-powered travel tools that offer consumers greater ease and customization, organizations need to look at how they can make their travelers’ desires a reality. Rigid travel policies that limit options and outdated booking tools may push employees to either stray from company guidelines or from the company altogether.
Actions to take:
- Use data analytics tools (including our newly launched Peer Travel Insights benchmarking program with a traveler well-being dashboard) to understand your travelers’ behaviors and preferences and use the insights to make the program more appealing overall.
- Review and rework an outdated travel policy. Strip away overly restrictive guidelines and dense jargon so it’s easier for travelers to follow the rules.
- Work with your travel management company (TMC) to introduce new tech solutions to enhance, automate and customize the travel experience and be sure to promote these tools to employees.
- Work toward addressing any gaps in travelers’ Wi-Fi service, so that no matter where they go, there’s never a disruption to their mobile experience.
2. Expand your duty of care program
After the terrorist attacks of 9/11, organizations began taking traveler safety more seriously and beefing up security protocols. They started introducing tools that can pinpoint travelers’ whereabouts, working with third-party risk management providers and reminding travelers about the importance of booking their entire trip via the corporate tool for security reasons.
With much of that under control, now the focus is shifting to other ways companies can boost their duty of care efforts. For example, travelers’ health and well-being have become hot topics as organizations seek solutions to prevent travel burnout. Today, there also is more discussion about how organizations can keep travelers safe when a business trip extends into a personal one or when staying in alternative accommodations, like a home-style rental via Booking.com.
And after a report from the Global Business Travel Association found that more than 80 percent of women say they have experienced at least one safety-related issue while traveling for business in the past year, more attention is being paid to how companies can protect their female travelers.
Actions to take:
- Audit your program for any existing travel risk management gaps and make adjustments accordingly.
- Spell out to travelers what kind of protection they will and won’t have during the leisure portion of a “bleisure” trip so they can take extra precautions.
- Provide special training to your female travelers to educate them about how they can prepare for the potential risks they face abroad.
- Introduce initiatives designed to boost your employees’ mental and physical health and reduce traveler friction. (Get ideas here and here.)
3. Focus on the use and misuse of traveler data
From the wealth of information that can be captured from a trip itinerary for duty of care purposes to the numbers that are crucial for supplier negotiations, data is the fuel of business travel. Using sophisticated AI technology, travel managers increasingly are focused on how they can use data to boost traveler satisfaction, reduce costs and increase program efficiencies.
Meanwhile, with the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) taking effect last year, the idea of data privacy has come under a microscope. That, along with the rise of cyberattacks in recent years, has pushed organizations to implement tighter controls around their employees’ personal information.
Because of all of the above, we strongly advise making traveler data a top priority.
Actions to take:
- Work with your IT department to provide travelers with the cybersecurity training and tools they need to keep their information safe on the road.
- Increase payment security and reduce the amount of data you transfer by having your travelers use our virtual credit numbers for hotel transactions.
- Carefully review your contracts and speak to suppliers about how they are handling your travelers’ data and what measures they have taken to be compliant with GDPR.
- Use robust data analytics tools to understand traveler preferences and program spend to make smarter policy changes.
4. Reduce your own workload
We know how time-consuming achieving the above goals will be, which is why the last one focuses on taking tasks off your plate. By taking a step back, reflecting on where you have spent your energy in the past and what objectives you were and were not able to accomplish, you may see that there are some assignments you can eliminate from your to-do list, whether you find it’s no longer a goal worth pursuing or it’s one that can be better managed by someone else.
Action steps to take:
- Reduce the amount of work involved with annual contract renewals by consolidating your hotel and air suppliers and taking advantage of your TMC’s discounted rates.
- Outsource duties that eat too much of your time or where a third party may add more value.
- Enlist help from other departments, such as accounting and IT, who can lend their expertise in educating travelers and streamlining systems.
- Contact us. There are many ways we can help make your job easier. Just reach out and ask!