Four of five business travellers report company travel policy has greatest impact on booking decisions
Frankfurt, Germany—Four out of five (79 percent) business travellers report their company’s travel policy has the greatest impact on their decision when booking travel for work, ahead of convenience (71 percent) and cost (70 percent), according to a new report released November 15 from the GBTA Foundation in partnership with HRS.
Flexible change (58 percent) and cancellation (56 percent) policies are also important, and one-half say automated expense reporting (52 percent) and membership in a loyalty or rewards program (50 percent) play a large role as well.
The report, Travel Policy Communication: Understanding Disconnects and Increasing Compliance, also reveals email is both the most often (49 percent) and most desired (56 percent) way company travel policy is communicated to travellers.
A one-size-fits-all approach is not the answer, however, as it is important to understand one’s company, its demographics and culture. A majority of Millennials (18-34) prefer to learn about company polices at an in-person meeting (51 percent). This is likely because they are newer to the workforce and business travel and prefer a more detailed briefing with the opportunity to ask questions. Those in Generation X (35-54) and Baby Boomers (55+) are likely already more familiar with company travel policy prefer electronic methods like email (52 percent and 69 percent, respectively) and company Intranet postings (47 percent and 53 percent, respectively).
Regional differences exist. Europeans have a slightly stronger preference than their North American counterparts for email as the ideal method for communicating travel policy (60 percent versus 53 percent), and a much stronger preference for using the company Intranet (51 percent versus 34 percent). Conversely the employee handbook is used in nearly half of North American companies (49 percent), but only in less than a third (29 percent) of European companies.
In comparing results to a previous GBTA Foundation study examining the ways travel professionals communicate their travel policy and the success of these efforts, this report found significant differences between the perceptions and recollections of the business travellers and the travel professionals:
An important responsibility for travel professionals involves negotiating services and amenities most valued and relevant to their travellers into air, hotel and ground contracts in the most cost-effective way possible. These add-ons mean very little however, if the traveller is unaware of such included benefits. The study showed major gaps exist between valued amenities by travellers and what they actually use; traveller use of amenities and how often it’s built into contracts; and the frequency with which travellers are reimbursed for an amenity or ancillary expense that was already included in pre-negotiated deals.
The study is based on an online survey of 492 North American (50 percent) and European (50 percent) business travellers, all of whom are employed by a company, must adhere to their company’s travel policy or stated guidelines and have travelled at least four times in the past year for business. The survey was fielded from May 26-June 14, 2016.
The Travel Policy Communication: Understanding Disconnects and Increasing Compliance report is available to GBTA members by clicking here and non-members can purchase the report through the GBTA Foundation by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.