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In Amadeus 2017 study on Nordic corporate travel trend we discovered that Nordic travellers are, in general, pretty compliant with their company’s travel policy. But many ‘rogue bookers’ still bypass their corporate travel agency for hotel bookings.
Nordic travellers are becoming more demanding - they want smoother end-to-end processes, better apps and a higher degree of personalisation - forcing travel decision makers to upgrade their travel policies, think outside the box and communicate more.
In our annual survey of corporate travel trends – the ‘Nordic Travel Management Trends & Insights’ study - Amadeus Scandinavia interviewed 1,500 business travellers and corporate travel decision makers. The purpose? To continue monitoring corporate booking behaviour, to pinpoint business travellers’ needs, pet peeves and dreams, and reveal what corporate travel managers need to focus on.
In this article we highlight some of the main trends in managed travel.
TMC channel continues to move online
It comes as no surprise that online booking tools (OBTs) within the TMC channel are increasing – in 2016, 40% of respondents used OBTs to book flights compared to 31% in 2012.
Loyalty to the OBT and the TMC channel is also relatively high for flight bookings – among the corporations that are managed by a travel policy, as only 22% of the respondents are stating that they are booking through other channels.
For hotel bookings, the picture is somewhat different. We do see the same increase in use of OBT, with 28% of respondents using this channel in 2016 compared to 21% in 2012, as well as a steady decline in those booking direct or through other channels from 49% to 41% over the last four years. However, there is still twice as many travellers bypassing the TMC channel for hotel bookings than for air bookings.
Remove our ‘pain points’
The business travellers were also quizzed on what annoyed them most before, during and after their trip. A clear message is that they want to simplify travelling end-to-end, eliminate paper work and avoid private expenses. Let’s share some of our travellers’ stories.
Fredrik, a young, technology-savvy Norwegian working in the services industry, says his biggest ‘pain point’ is the administration during and post-trip. Along with 45% of his fellow travellers, he wants a smoother process for managing post-trip administration, with “direct integration between credit card and expense management systems.”
Maria, a 40-year-old Swede who works for a large manufacturing company and travels more than 80 days a year, uses her mobile phone to book flights, hotels and ground transportation and for checking in and changing flights. She has several apps – most of the study respondents have one to five apps - but dreams of having: “One mobile app, which would gather my whole trip, so that everything from parking to travel, hotel etc. is kept in one place.”
Let me personalise my trip!
Ari, a 55-year-old sales manager in a Finnish consulting company, is one of the 65% of road warriors – respondents who travel over 80 days per year – who wants more ancillaries like choosing their airplane seat or meal on-board, book extra leg space or use fast track at the airport. He craves personalisation, a “one-to-one service”.
People like Ari want to manage their travels themselves and be able to influence their trip by adding relevant services to make it as work-friendly as possible and to use their time wisely.
Decision makers need to “rethink” their ways
In order to comply with the Marias, Fredriks and Aris in their organisations, travel decision makers have realised that they need to update and modernise their travel policies. 36% state that they want to address the mobile app issues in their travel policies, 23% will revise their travel policies to include ancillaries like bags, seats and meals and 10% want to add “out-of-the ordinary” options such as sharing economy services to their travel policy.
However, will a mere update of the policy suffice to keep travellers happy and secure loyalty? Probably not, and travel decision makers will need to ‘rethink’ the way they communicate with employees. Whereas as many as 63% are planning more information and training to influence travellers’ behaviour, the vast majority plans to use ‘traditional’ communication channels such as the Intranet or newsletters for this. Will that be enough to create engagement and trust around the corporate travel program?
“In reality, that is communicating the same message, just a bit louder”, says Michèle Sandstedt, Segment Marketing Manager at Amadeus Scandinavia. “At Amadeus, we want to encourage travel managers and decision makers to think differently, and adapt communication to the ”new” generation of employees, using modern work place communication tools such as social collaboration tools, chatbots and gamification to reach out to their travellers and create engagement and trust in the travel policy.”