Has FaceTime® replaced genuine face time? Is business travel so last century? Not according to the business travelers we surveyed in the third edition of the Egencia® Business Travel and Technology Study. Globally, 86 percent of travelers surveyed said a meeting conducted in-person is more effective and productive, a view consistent across every age group. Travelers inAustralia, Canada, China, India, UK, and the US made a stronger endorsement, at 90 percent, on average; as did travelers with a title of VP and above (91 percent). In an age when rampant connectivity allows us to work virtually from anywhere, business travelers believe there is a lot to be said for showing up.
Travel is also closely linked to professional success in the minds of business travelers. More than two-thirds of global travelers surveyed (67 percent) said they would be less successful in their role if they did not travel. Travelers in Australia, Canada, China, India, UK, and the US agreed most strongly at levels above 70 percent, as did VPs and above. Far from being irrelevant, Egencia’s findings revealed widespread support for, and confidence in, business travel as a personal and professional tool.
“We support the vital need for business travel by providing solutions travelers actually want to use,” said Rob Greyber, president of Egencia. “If we can improve each traveler’s journey while helping companies manage the bottom line, then we have done our job. Our travelers’ clicks guide us every day in the decisions we make and the technology we deliver toward the user experience.”
While conducting business in-person hasn’t gone out of style, neither has the need for companies to manage the cost of business travel. As companies have moved toward cost containment, travelers have felt the pinch. More than half of travelers (54 percent) say cost is the most important factor to their company when booking a trip. Among travelers who have experienced a more stringent travel policy in recent years, more than three-quarters (78 percent) feel that cost savings has been the driver.
Within this environment, most travelers globally say that policy is not oriented toward their preferences. Fifty-five percent of travelers say their company travel policy meets their needs only somewhat well, and 8 percent of travelers report it does not meet their needs very well, or not at all. Only 38 percent of travelers say their company’s policy meets their needs very well. When confronted with a restrictive policy that prevents travelers from booking a preferred airline or hotel, roughly one out of two travelers is willing to break it. Companies have an opportunity to better reflect traveler desires and increase compliance at the same time.
Egencia’s new position paper, Policy vs. Policing: Ten Ways to Empower and Take Care of Your Travelers, addresses what companies can do to better meet the needs of travelers and improve their experience. Our findings and recommendations are based on traveler views and are focused on four key areas:
- Choice (Do travelers have enough choice and flexibility with regard to content?);
- Comfort (Do travelers feel taken care of on the road?);
- Safety (Are safety guidelines prioritized and communicated effectively?); and
- Communication (Are travelers being reached through the channels they prefer?).
We also wanted to find out how travelers perceive issues like the sharing economy, mixed leisure and business travel, and their own safety and security when traveling for work.
Personalization emerged as a major theme of traveler feedback. While 25 percent of travelers globally feel their company travel program has become more personalized, 59 percent have not seen greater personalization in recent years. Policy segmentation can make certain travelers, whether they are executives or those who travel a certain route or distance, feel more taken care of on the road.
In addition, Egencia recommends that companies not only have a well-thought-out travel policy, but an effective way of reaching travelers and open channels of communication.
Egencia will also be at the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) event in Denver, Colorado; so stop by booth #1442 or follow along virtually on our blog or Twitter for updates live from the show.