Biz Travellers Want To Follow Policy – But They Have To Know What It Is
Four out of five business
travellers say their company’s travel policy has the greatest impact on their
decision-making when booking travel for work. At 79%, it ranks ahead of
convenience (71%) and cost (70%.
The data comes from a new report
by the GBTA Foundation in partnership with HRS. Flexible change (58%) and
cancellation (56%) policies are two other important factors cited. As well, 52%
ranked automated expense reporting and 50% membership in a loyalty or rewards
program as playing significant roles.
The report, Travel Policy
Communication: Understanding Disconnects and Increasing Compliance,
reveals that email is both the most frequent (49%) and most desired (56%) way
company travel policy is communicated to travellers.
The GBTA reports says a one-size-fits-all approach is not the answer, however,
as it is important to understand company demographics and culture.
“Unexpectedly, a majority of
Millennials (18-34) prefer to learn about company polices at an in-person
meeting (51%. 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+) likely already
more familiar with company travel policy prefer electronic methods like email
(52% and 69%, respectively) and company intranet postings (47% and 53%,
respectively),” the report states.
“The study results show that travellers want to do the right thing,” said Tobias
Ragge, CEO of HRS. “Communicating the travel policy through the right channels
at the right time and listening to your travellers’ feedback is key. The
results also highlight that convenience and ease of use are crucial in keeping
corporate travellers compliant to the travel program.”
Kate Vasiloff, GBTA Foundation
director of research, says that while the travel professional’s account
may be more reliable in determining how travel policy is communicated, what matters
is the traveller perception and recollection since their actions can have duty
of care and cost implications for the company.
“It is not a lack of desire or
willingness to follow company guidelines that drives out-of-policy booking, it
is a lack of understanding caused by a breakdown in communication between the
travel professionals and the traveller.”
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:
According to travel professionals, one-half (54%) hold in-person
meetings to communicate travel policy, but travellers have a different
There are huge gaps between how often travel professionals think their
travellers use approved booking channels to make arrangements for flights (90%)
and rental cars (81%) and what business travellers are actually doing (63% and
The importance of closing the gap becomes increasingly clear when
addressing travel to high-risk locations. One of six business travellers say
they do not receive additional information before going to high-risk areas – a
clear risk factor considering the corporate’s duty of care.
While available technology exists to alert business travellers to out of
policy booking, one in five (20%) say they never receive these types of alerts.
The report says that 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 report states.
The study showed major gaps exist
between amenities valued by travellers and what they actually use; traveller
use of amenities and how often it is 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.