Home Knowledge HOW DOES A COMPANY RETAIN CONTROL OF THE “UNRULY” TRAVELER

HOW DOES A COMPANY RETAIN CONTROL OF THE “UNRULY” TRAVELER

Answer: they don`t

And here is why!

In our families we all fight for the TV remote control or buy a TV for each room. From having access to 2-3 national channels available, we now have the world at our feet and can view series from Bollywood to Hollywood. Our kids have their own smartphone and access to the whole world. What made this change possible? The fact that distribution and technology has made it affordable to have access to hundreds of channels and instant access to the mobile world. As parents we care about controlling which access our kids have. This battle has been going on for many years and with the Inter- and mobile net expanding it’s going to be harder. The key element is that we, as parents, are losing control.

For decades’ companies have tried to globalize how to treat their travelers. One of the so-called stopping stones has been rigid travel policies becoming a bible, loaded on to the Intranet, carrying the following messages:

  • You need to follow the global rules and use specific global airlines otherwise our company buy too expensive.
  • You have to stay at that specific global hotel chain and rent a car with this specific company, because we have global agreements.
  • Your allowance is this at the various destinations. Finish your T&E latest 3 days after return and use this specific tool. Use this TMC as they inform our insurance company your whereabouts according to the reservation and please remember to register for insurance.

And many more. I have seen policies of 1 page and up to 50 or more. A few really try add value and help the traveler, but mostly it`s all about control.

What has changed?

Everyone seems to have forgotten that the physical cost of traveling has decreased. The airfare for a ticket Stockholm to Los Angeles is less than 500€ today and in 1960 the amount was the same. Today Low Cost Carriers and freedom of the sky has created a huge number of new city pairs and major decrease of fares.

The Internet has made an opaque pricing system transparent and online booking engines has made many travel agents obsolete, or at least less important. We all know the consequences of the sharing economy.

The future

Digitalization is very high on any company schedule and of course they look at their main areas. It is also clear it is difficult to keep up with the constant flow of new, faster and better products being launched. The key is of course to create value and security to the company.

About the traveler I believe:

  • Every traveler wishes to have success at the destination and they all know time is valuable.
  • Most travelers know their destinations, how to get there and use local and other relevant Apps.
  • Most, if not all, travelers check the schedule possibilities before booking and this includes where company travel bookers are servicing the travelers.
  • A lot of travelers are member of one or more loyalty programs and use supplier Apps.
  • Every traveler is worried of the increasingly uncertain world and their personal security.

We already know “Road Warriors” account for the biggest spent and most time away. In many companies they account for 40% of travel activity. The wear and tear of those jobs and need for flexibility should be included in any policy in the future.

However, the employees travelling less also need to feel secure and valued from management to fitter. I believe that Duty of Care will become one of if not the key area in the future. This means companies have to bring in new ways of establish return on investment and link these to the overall values and supply management structures.

It is already apparent the suppliers invest huge resources improving their mobile platform and services towards, what they see as, their customer. The combination of new and personalized software products and the individual reliance on their smartphone or tablets will force any company to rethink their structure.

HOW DO A COMPANY RETAIN AT LEAST SOME FUTURE CONTROL OF THE “UNRULY” TRAVELER?

What should be key points to companies in the future?

  • Send clear signals and policies matching or at least in line with company values.
  • Use the fact that virtual all travelers and employees do have a smartphone and are experienced Apps users.
  • Rethink supplier selection and data collection in a world with thousands of Apps and cloud products.
  • Try to keep competition alive by selecting more than one supplier at destination or between city pairs.
  • Make the travelers feel valued and respected. Listen carefully to their wisdom and experiences about culture, local and business structures. Listen to their travel suggestions and ideas.
  • Secure a proper Duty of Care structure.
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