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What the traveler wants

For decades’ companies have tried to globalize how to treat their travelers. This has worked well as there has been some uniformed rules created. However, during the last years it has come apparent, that being away from your desk for long periods can be stressful and hard. This means that many companies are looking into improving conditions to, as well as security for, the traveler. One of the so-called stopping stones has been rigid travel policies becoming a bible, loaded on to the Intranet, carrying the following messages:

  1. You need to follow the global rules otherwise our company buy too expensive
  2. You have to use this specific global airline because otherwise it ruins our agreement
  3. You have to stay at that specific global hotel chain because we have an agreement and rent a car with this specific company, because we have a global agreement.
  4. Between these 2 city pairs we have an agreement with this airline, so use it.
  5. Your allowance is this at the various destinations. Finish your T&E latest 3 days after return and use this specific tool.
  6. Use this TMC as they inform our insurance company your whereabouts according to the reservation and please remember to register for insurance.
  7. At certain destinations we have an agreement with a local limousine company.

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

About the traveler I believe:

  1. A good and prosperous family life.
  2. Be successful in their job.
  3. Create growth and success to their company (employer).
  4. Get the job, action, activity or meeting well done.
  5. Have technology available that makes the search, booking and accounting easy and fast.
  6. Have all information available on the phone or tablet helping them become successful.
  7. Most travelers know their destinations and how to get there and around
  8. Most, if not all, travelers check the schedule possibilities before booking and this includes where company travel bookers are servicing the travelers.
  9. Every traveler has a smartphone and many have a tablet.
  10. Very few travelers look up the policy placed at the Intranet.
  11. Today every traveler has one or more preferred Apps or Internet robots. It can be destination, information, help or otherwise relevant to that specific person.
  12. Every traveler knows time is valuable.
  13. A lot of travelers are member of one or more loyalty programs.
  14. Most travelers already use supplier Apps.
  15. 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 areas 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.

I am aware 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. Today most products rely on Cloud storage, however, many of top 500 companies in the world are already using Cloud services and have accepted this as the future. With Blockchain and similar tools entering the market, Cloud will be the future.

The area of being away from your desk including travel is a key area in many companies. Why?

  1. It is perhaps the strongest management signaler area in the company as it touches every site, department, top- plus mid-management and all production units.
  2. The area has a lot of stakeholders and opinionates.
  3. The area has a lot of Internet technology, systems and products. It is one of the areas seeing a constant flow of new products and thus updates evaluation and integration.

What should be key points to companies in the future?

  1. Send clear signals and policies matching and in line with company values
  2. Use the fact that virtual all travelers and employees do have a smartphone and are experienced Apps users.
  3. Rethink supplier selection and data collection in a world with thousands of Apps and cloud products.
  4. Try to keep competition alive by selecting more than one supplier at destination or between city pairs.
  5. 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.
  6. Secure a proper Duty of Care structure.

The suppliers and intermediaries.

For decades, the focus has been on showing or informing about schedules and pricing. This is done with the background from the customer (companies) and not the traveler. The profile systems do have space for loyalty cards and programs, personal preferences like aisle or window seat and with some limitations special means.

This is a far cry from what the traveler wishes and want. We do know that their work and success combined with good family life are the keys to most individuals

Finally, the traveler and their trip

Talk about personification is continuing, but in actual fact this is an almost impossible task as the preferences will change constantly as well as destinations and type of work. One year a traveler may be a technician and next team manager.

Aside the warriors few employees travel more than 20-40 days a year. The key to their wellbeing (including the warriors) is to make them recognized and valued. A simple categorization will at least design proper software.

  1. Female going to a new destination or address.
  2. Male going to a new destination or address.
  3. Female going back to a known destination or address.
  4. Male going back to a known destination or address.

This means the following practical advantages:

  • Easy and fast transfer through security
  • Access to lounge or be told where the best coffee and free Wi-Fi is available
  • Pre-seating on plane or train
  • If requested or in profile relevant food
  • Upon have arrival local ground information available on the smartphone (without Wi-Fi)
  • Accommodation matching the personal requirements (Wi-Fi, female or male accessories, room or other services)
  • Easy access or well described guide to where the meeting or activity takes place.

Let us help you design the right travel policy, point at the right suppliers including safety and protection and simple structures to keep up with your travelers changing needs.

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