ACTE Study Says Managed Travel Is At A Tipping Point
The Association of Corporate
Travel Executives (ACTE) has launched a whitepaper entitled The
Evolution of Travel Policy: A Global View on the Future. Created in
partnership with American Express Global Business Travel (GBT), the report
surveyed over 350 corporate travel managers around the world to explore the
future of travel policy.
A key question in the study concerned the balance between savings and service
in policy. Over the last couple of years, 52% of respondents identified savings
as the primary driver of their managed travel program, followed by duty of care
(23%) and traveller service (16%).
Looking ahead, the balance between savings and service is expected to change
significantly as CTMs look to traveller behaviour, rather than supplier cost
reductions, to drive savings.
84% of respondents say
savings will be achieved through demand management and compliance in the next
1-2 years. However, the research suggests the communications tools to drive
compliance are often missing: 44% of respondents say they have no formal
systems in place for gathering feedback from their travellers.
While 75% of corporate travel managers surveyed see improved traveller service
as a route to savings, few organizations have measures in place to justify
these improvements to procurement or finance leaders. 21% of respondents today
use traveller productivity metrics, 9% use work-life balance metrics and just 5%
use stress reduction metrics. However, 12% of CTMs say they plan to
introduce stress reduction metrics in the next 1-2 years.
“Demand management is the bedrock of a strong managed program so it’s hugely
significant to see that travel managers are embracing the traveller and
traveller service,” said Caroline Strachan, Vice President of Global Business
Consulting at American Express Global Business Travel.
they understand the future’s going to be traveller-centric. What’s less clear,
is whether travel managers feel they have the right technology and tools needed
to deliver this future. Communication is critical for building relationships,
engagement and compliance. The research suggests there’s scope for travel
managers to upgrade their communications systems and practice.”
Metrics are another area for attention identified by Strachan:
”Traveller-centric metrics help travel managers convince their colleagues about
the value of service improvements. The research shows progress here – but
travel managers should consider how they can better capture the impact of
travel on their travellers.”
ACTE Executive Director Greeley Koch added, “The Evolution of Travel Policy study
confirms a major shift among business travel managers, identifying a stronger
emphasis on supporting the traveller in meeting corporate objectives, as
opposed to savings alone. The report’s findings are consistent with ACTE’s
Traveller Centricity education pillar, which puts the traveller and the
traveller’s needs at the heart of policy.”
Koch pointed out that influencing traveller behaviour and supporting the
traveller in the field is far more conducive to meeting the primary objective —
raising corporate revenue — than savings alone. “While savings remain a key
driver, profitability is the objective of business travel.”
Among the traveller considerations featured in The Evolution of Travel
Policy are initiatives for improved traveller service. Highlights
• Pre-trip messaging: 30% of organizations have already deployed these
services, and 27% aim to introduce them in the next 1–2 years.
• Mobile booking: 29% of organizations have mobile booking today. A further 30%
of CTMs plan to implement within 1–2 years.
• Mobile Apps for in-trip changes: deployed in just 16% of organizations today,
over the next 1-2 years 31% of CTMs plan implementation.
With the sharing economy travel options are a focus of interest across the
travel industry, the research finds lukewarm attitudes among CTMs. While 13%
have included ground transportation sharing options, and a further 13% plan to
implement in the next 1–2 years, 39% say these options are not even on the
agenda. With accommodation sharing options, 13% have implemented a policy, 8%
plan to introduce policy in the next 1–2 years and over 1/2 (56%) rule them out
“These figures may be more indicative of a mindset than practical application,”
said Koch. He added that ground transportation decisions are often made in the
moment by travellers on the road, not by travel managers based in corporate
headquarters. “Accommodation decisions are a different and more complex story,”