Travel Industry Demands Change: New Whitepaper Finds Travel Managers Are Tired of ‘Buying Like It’s 1995’
A new whitepaper from ALTOUR, a leading travel solutions provider with more than $1.7B of industry leverage, and The BTN Group, found travel industry professionals are hungry for change in the managed travel purchasing process.
With a wish list covering better distribution options, more transparent economics and cost-saving measures, the majority of the 265 travel professionals surveyed indicated a litany of pain points and inefficiencies in managed travel, calling for a major reset in the industry not seen since the drastic reduction and gradual elimination of airline commissions in 1995.
“It’s time for the travel industry to stop buying like it’s 1995,” said Ron DiLeo, EVP and Chief Commercial Officer of ALTOUR, the survey’s sponsor. “We’ve seen incredible advances in technology over the last 20 years and it’s time for our industry to take a hard look at the systems and processes we have in place. From the results of our survey with The BTN Group, it’s clear that travel industry professionals recognize the need for a major overhaul of the way we do business.”
Ease of Use
Travel professionals are juggling numerous client requests at once and need systems that are easy to use. They are most interested in process improvements that will allow for easier search options, pricing comparisons, online booking tools and rebooking. Additionally, enhanced technology interfaces are needed to make it easier for travelers to book and alter travel plans, including on mobile devices. According to a2014 study, 71 percent of global travel managers are already using or expect to use mobile travel management applications — ranging from travel booking and itinerary sharing to mobile payment and expense reporting.
Transparency is key in today’s marketplace and survey respondents echoed this sentiment, asking for more clarity into overall pricing. More than 65 percent of respondents identified “securing the lowest rates and fares” as the top pain point, calling for more sophisticated technology and tools. Other technology wish-list items included data reporting improvements and more sophisticated search algorithms to find lower fares and be advised when lowest fares change after booking.
Other key findings from the survey include:
- The top three most costly inefficiencies were identified as data reporting processes, airline ancillary products and hotel RFPs/preferred supplier contracts
- Despite concerns about inefficiencies, only one-third of travel buyers surveyed have completed process mapping exercises aimed at improving booking and service deliverables with airline, car rental, corporate payment and data management providers in the past 24 months
- Ground transportation is the travel management category least likely to undergo process mapping, according to 70 percent of buyers surveyed
- Frustrations with data reporting and management and airline ancillary fees were so significant, they will be addressed in a separate whitepaper to be released in September 2015
“The fact that we largely approach travel management in the same way we did when cell phones were bricks and the now almost-obsolete DVD format was first being introduced should be a wake-up call,” said DiLeo. “It’s time for another major industry shift, evaluation of inefficiencies and implementation of newer technologies to make the managed travel experience better for travel managers, corporations and the business travelers on the ground.”
To download a full copy of the whitepaper, please click here. For more information on survey methodology, or to arrange an interview with the survey’s authors, please contact Heather Dratler ([email protected] or 202-772-1449).