In an age when rampant connectivity allows us to work virtually from anywhere, Australian business travellers believe there is a lot to be said for connecting in person.
Egencia® the business travel company of the Expedia Group (NASDAQ: EXPE) today announced the results of its third edition of the Egencia® Business Travel and Technology Study, which revealed that 91 per cent of Australian business travellers find a meeting conducted in person is more effective and productive, a view consistent across every age group.
Has FaceTime® replaced genuine face time?
The Egencia study, which involved 6,057 interviews with international business travellers from 12 countries, examined their opinion on business travelling and corporate travel policies. Despite the rise of virtual meetings and video conferencing, the benefits of business travel remain irreplaceable.
Travel is closely linked to professional success in the minds of business travellers. Three in four Australian (75 per cent) corporate travellers surveyed said they would be less successful in their role if they did not travel, well above the global average of 67 per cent.
Egencia’s findings revealed widespread support for, and confidence in, business travel as a personal and professional tool.
“We understand the need for companies to invest wisely in travel as they manage and grow their businesses. We also understand the needs and desires of travellers and bookers as we design useful and intuitive solutions,” said Kyle Davis, Managing Director, Egencia Asia Pacific.
“We take pride in improving each traveller’s journey while assisting companies with managing their bottom line. Our travellers’ experience and feedback guides us every day in the development of the services we offer for reliable and comfortable business travel.”
Is good policy a prescription for compliance?
While conducting business in-person hasn’t gone out of style, neither has the need for Australian companies to manage the cost of business travel. As companies have moved toward cost containment, travellers have felt the pinch.
More than half of corporate travellers (56 percent) say cost is the most important factor to their company when booking a trip. Among Australian travellers who have experienced a more stringent travel policy in recent years, nearly nine in ten (89 percent) feel that cost savings has been the driver – far greater than the 78 per cent global average.
Most travellers globally say that their company’s travel policy is not oriented toward their preferences. Fifty-five per cent of global travellers say their company travel policy meets their needs only somewhat well, a figure that decreases even more amongst Australians (47 per cent).
Only 45 per cent of Australian corporate flyers say that their company’s policy meets their needs very well. When confronted with a restrictive policy that prevents travellers from booking a preferred airline or hotel, roughly one in two travellers (55 per cent) say they will stay at their favourite hotel even if it doesn’t fall within the stipulations of their company travel program/policy and 57 per cent will fly with their favourite airline.
These results appear to suggest that companies have an opportunity to better reflect the desires of travelling employees, whilst increasing compliance.
Egencia’s new position paper, Policy vs. Policing: Ten Ways to Empower and Take Care of Your Travellers addresses what companies can do to better meet the needs of travellers and improve their experience. Findings and recommendations are based on traveller views and are focused on four key areas:
- Choice (Do travellers have enough choice and flexibility with regards to content?)
- Comfort (Do travellers feel taken care of on the road?)
- Safety (Are safety guidelines prioritised and communicated effectively?)
- Communication (Are travellers being reached through the channels they prefer?)
Egencia’s research also sought to find out how travellers are perceiving issues like the sharing economy, mixed leisure and business travel, and their own safety and security when travelling for work.
Personalisation emerged as a major theme of traveller feedback. While 29 per cent of Aussie travellers feel their company travel program has become more personalised, 57 per cent have not seen greater personalisation in recent years. In fact, 11 per cent say their travel program has become less personalised.
“In today’s travel environment, companies need more than just a well-thought-out travel policy, they must have open channels of communication in order to gather feedback and ensure positive and productive experiences for all parties,” Davis said.
For further information on the research findings, the Policy vs. Policing: Ten Ways to Empower and Take Care of Your Travellers paper is available on the Egencia blog, alongside tips to increase traveller compliance and satisfaction.