Published on : Wednesday, June 28, 2017
Many companies have both high traveler satisfaction and high program compliance, according to a new study released today by the GBTA Foundation, the research and education arm of the Global Business Travel Association. Additionally, 76 percent of Latin American-based travel managers and 74 percent of North American-based travel managers indicate traveler well-being has a lot of weight on their final decisionswhen considering specific components of their travel policy.
The study, Balancing Traveler Satisfaction and Well-Being with Program Compliance, conducted with the support of the Carlson Family Foundation, explores how well-being and traveler satisfaction can impact policy compliance. Of the North American and Latin American travel managers surveyed who report over 90 percent compliance with air bookings, 93 percent and 79 percent, respectively, say a majority of their travelers are satisfied with their travel program. High levels of satisfaction with hotel programs over 70 percent compliant were also reported. While not significantly higher than satisfaction in programs experiencing lower levels of compliance, this suggests that traveler well-being and satisfaction efforts may not undermine compliance – and in fact, may even improve it.
“Travel managers must balance traveler well-being and satisfaction along with many competing priorities from cost-savings and compliance to duty of care and keeping up with the latest technology,” said Monica Sanchez, GBTA Foundation Director of Research. “Business traveler well-being efforts can take on a variety of forms focusing on efficiency, comfort, choice and service. Collecting traveler feedback can inform travel programs what areas to pay the most attention to, and this study indicates that traveler well-being and policy compliance do not have to come at the expense of the other.”
Does Traveler Feedback Influence Company Travel Policy?
While many companies review their travel policies regularly, only half (51 percent) of travel programs in North America and two out of five (38 percent) in Latin America collect traveler feedback when reviewing their travel policy. Programs not collecting feedback may find it worthwhile to do so as such feedback usually has a moderate or high influence on adjustments companies ultimately make to their travel policy. Additionally, traveler satisfaction frequently improves when companies make policy adjustments based on feedback.
A majority of travel programs measure traveler satisfaction regularly and not only are most business travelers satisfied with their company’s overall travel program, business travelers are more satisfied with their programs today compared to two or three years ago, according to a majority of the travel managers surveyed. When measuring satisfaction, companies focus most commonly on customer service/support from TMCs, online booking tools, the booking process and company-preferred hotels. Travel programs can make a greater effort to measure satisfaction with their internal policies and processes as these are the areas companies can most easily adjust based on feedback.
Amenities, Upgrades and Services
In both North America and Latin America, companies occasionally offer – or allow travelers to purchase – amenities, services or upgrades that can improve the traveler experience. Travel programs are split when it comes to allowing travelers to purchase certain upgrades such as direct flights or business class tickets. Companies should gauge the importance of such upgrades to their travelers, and determine if the benefits outweigh the higher cost.