Nowadays, business travelers value convenience over cost. Many are willing to dip into their own funds if it means they can choose their own hotel or airline seat upgrade. It appears some corporate travel policies may need to be re-worked to allow for flexibility in traveling and newer trends.
Why Do Business Travelers Want Control of Their Own Bookings?
Business travelers prefer booking their own travel itineraries mainly for loyalty reward points, especially from credit card companies. This is because on some airlines, such as United Airlines, a round trip flight from New York to London is around 2,000 miles and cost about $1,000. Depending on the time of year, you could earn at least 3000 points and more if you booked your hotel and transportation at the same time.
Luckily, only a few company policies are extremely rigid, stating that employees must only use “certain suppliers” and that’s it. Most travel policies are becoming more flexible, suggesting ideas, but allowing employees to book itineraries on their mobile devices.
What Do Business Travelers Really Value?
Business travelers spend even more time traveling than ever before. Therefore, around half of them valued direct flights and convenient departure and arrival times over saving money. Business travelers also want to stay in hotel in hotels that offer premium amenities, such as free Wi-Fi, a quiet office setting, and healthy room service options. A recent study revealed that nearly all business travelers comply with current corporate travel policy. However, nearly 80% of employees said that they’d prefer to work for an organization that implemented a travel management plan with more flexibility.
How Business Travel Managers Can Adapt to Trends
Nearly 60 % of business travelers said that their 2018 business travel budget increased since 2017. This trend is expected to grow and reach $1.6 trillion by 2020. With ever-changing trends, it’s important that your company keeps up and offers flexible options. Providing convenience is essential. Providing employees with perks like pre-check in services or complimentary Wi-Fi services is a good place to start. In addition, a corporate travel service will have information on the latest trends and can help you update policy. With mobile services taking off in popularity, business travelers prefer to book some of their travel itineraries by mobile. Travel managers can assist them by allowing employees submit expense reports through their smart phones. They also need to take advantage of the mobile shift and ride sharing apps and offer travelers discounts on Uber or Lyft.
Currently, many employees still deem business travel as a perk, and several want to work for corporations that allow them to travel frequently on business. Right now, the challenge is to find the balance between cost and flexibility and analyze who is paying for what. At GTI Travel our business travel consultants can help you sort all of that.