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Like people, corporations are different. Some are big, some are small, and some prefer certain styles of managing travel. Culture, geography, and organizational set-up all play a role in these preferences. As part of our evolution to a Live Travel Space, we wanted to understand the similarities and differences between corporate travel and expense (T&E) strategy.
Every corporate T&E program has a different flavor
T&E programs are often driven by their business set-up and travel patterns. A car manufacturer tends to have very stable travel patterns with the vast majority of trips across their main business hubs and production facilities. On the other hand, a professional services company may be more flexible in their travel structure following their own customer projects and priorities. While the first example is a good indicator for high-level of automation, online adoption, and traveler self-servicing the latter produces more complex trips and white-glove servicing from their travel management company (TMC) partner for high-demand travelers.
There are also different ways corporations design and implement their T&E programs. Much is driven by how they run their core business. For example, if they run their business in a decentralized or vertical business structure. T&E programs usually follow suit and are likely to only offer an optional global framework without a strong mandate.
Of course corporate size matters as well. Decision making processes tend to get more complex the bigger corporations are. Plus, their internal stakeholder management also gets more sophisticated. However, there is a cultural component here. We do see US headquartered multi-nationals being more centralized and top-down in the execution of a global strategy. Many European companies tend to accept more regional differences and try to reach a consensus on which strategy to apply in a given area of their business. There is certainly a trend towards a more globalized approach across Europe as well and strong appetite to harmonize across regions.
But there are some commonalties among the needs of corporations
All corporations need to find the right balance between cost, compliance, and the corporate travelers’ personal preferences in their travel choices. They can select different strategies on how to best meet these objectives. But at the end of the day, they want to reach travel savings targets and achieve return on investment quickly. This is easier said than done when traveler expectations are strongly influenced by leisure travel.
Nowadays, corporate travelers want the same experience from corporate travel programs. We call this the ‘consumerization’ of corporate travel programs. This means delivering a great user-experience, traveler centricity, and an intuitive user interface with the best content. The key enabler here is the right technology. Corporate travelers should be continuously engaged and adoption rates should be high. Technology should make it easy and fun to comply with the corporate travel program by offering the best content and user-experience. At Amadeus, we are ready for corporations and their future challenges and opportunities.
Amadeus cytric Travel & Expense , backed by ourAmadeus Travel Platform , is helping corporations power smarter business travel and digitalize their businesses, benefiting both the corporation and the employee. Our technology gives corporations rich, unbiased content from different sources, so the traveler does not need to book elsewhere. Plus, the corporation can decide which content its travelers see so it can meet its objectives. All of this is underpinned by the flexibility to adapt to the ‘different flavors’ of corporations and embed into their existing IT landscape.
This is all part of a wider initiative to build together with our customers a Live Travel Space to foster growth, to be ready for all future trends. We want to be open, dynamic and connected, and we want our customers to be that, too.