The U.S. business traveler: Debunking common myths about business travel

shutterstock_325569101Against a backdrop of changing workforce needs, there is an even greater emphasis on the travel experience across the whole trip, from search and booking to expense reconciliation and everything in between.

To bring these needs to light while dispelling common myths of corporate travel, Amadeus sponsored an extensive research effort by Phocuswright. Below we highlight three of these myths.

Myth #1: Managed travel programs control business traveler behavior

Show of hands – who likes to be “controlled” by your employer?  Nobody?  I didn’t think so.

The company travel policy has long served as the foundation of managed travel.  The premise is simple – policy drives traveler behavior, which enables greater leverage with suppliers, which in turn leads to better discounts. Yet less than 50 percent of travelers surveyed say they always follow their company’s travel policy. This means that half of the bookings made can be occurring with suppliers you don’t have leverage with.

So why are travelers not following policy? The leading reason (37 percent) is convenience, while price accounts for 35 percent of the time followed by 26 percent where recommended travel brands are not practical for a particular trip.

The shifting nature of business travel requires corporations and TMCs to adapt to a world that is less ‘command and control’ and more dynamic and agile. At the same time they are focused on cost-effective ways of delivering on their T&E requirements.

At Amadeus, we help our customers navigate the future, providing them with the tools that enable them to be more flexible, more in control and more productive. We take away the challenges of business travel, allowing them to focus on their business.

Myth 2: Frequent managed business travelers are among the least compliant

I’ll admit it. I always believed that the most frequent travelers found ways to circumvent travel policies. However, it turns out that 86 percent of travelers booking 4+ trips per year are always or usually in policy, compared to 81 percent of travelers booking 1-3 trips per year.

Before you go scolding infrequent travelers for non-compliance, it may not entirely be their fault. It turns out that more than 60 percent of travelers don’t fully understand the reason and benefits of having a company policy.

Myth 3: OTAs have little impact on managed travel programs

While company booking websites remain the preferred booking channel for travelers, a quarter of them use supplier direct sites and nearly 23 percent of travelers use online travel agency (OTA) websites.

The ease and familiarity of OTA sites are the primary attractions for using them in booking business travel. Simply put, travelers want the experience of an OTA for their business travel. However, with little to no ability to influence purchasing behaviors and ensure his or her safety, we know travel managers continually struggle with balancing corporate policies with traveler demands.

So how can you balance these conflicting demands? For starters, a booking tool that provides a more relevant and personalized experience will get a traveler’s attention. Then add the widest range of global travel content – air, hotel, rail, car and more – to boost traveler confidence in the tool. Lastly, make it easy for travelers to initiate and manage travel in-house.

Contact us to learn more about the 10 myths of business travel and how Amadeus is addressing them.

The full Phocuswright report can be purchased here.

 

 

 

 

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