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24 May 2017 , 1:37 pm

Why do travellers fail to comply with travel policy… And how can your TMC help?

Travel Policy

Did you know that by improving traveller compliance, corporates can save more than 30% on their travel spend?

It’s no secret that travel policy compliance is key to keep a firm handle on a corporate’s travel spend, not to mention to keep their employees safe. But, why is it so difficult to get employees to comply?

1. Travellers don’t grasp the value of the travel policy

According to travel buyers, the main reason travellers don’t comply with their company’s travel policy is that they simply don’t grasp the importance of these rules and regulations.

Recent research conducted by ACTE shows that corporate travel managers are convinced that effective communication is key to driving compliance. And that’s where TMCs have a crucial role to play.

A TMC can explain the importance of policy compliance to the company’s travellers in terms of preferred agreements and cost-saving. They can shed light on key terms such as ‘ancillary fees’ or ‘restricted airfares’, which may be confusing. They can also warn travellers about the consequences and penalties of non-compliance.

TMCs can convey the message to travellers that, in light of recent terrorism events, it is essential for the company to be aware of their whereabouts at all times. Many corporates book hotels outside of the preferred channel which may mean that the TMC or travel manager would be unaware of where the traveller is located. TMCs have technologies that allow immediate access to travellers’ whereabouts, but this is only when travellers use the technology.

2. Road warriors are frustrated with long approval processes

Do you remember the days when business travellers had to fax an approval form to their travel manager for any trip? Those days may have changed, but the frustration with the approval process has remained to some extent.

Although faxes are not commonly used any more, some companies still rely on a mostly manual pre-trip approval process. The employee has to email their manager with the basic trip information. By the time it’s approved, the prices of the flights have most likely changed, and then what? Should the traveller book the flights at different prices or re-submit for approval?

It is crucial for TMCs to have the right technology in place to ease frustrations and to streamline the approval process flow. Technologies like Amadeus Corporate Travel will automatically send an e-mail to the approver when the corporate traveller makes a booking. The approver will have all the information in one quick glance: whether the booking is in policy, and if not, what the reasons are for booking out of policy. With all the information at his or her fingertips, the approver can make a quick decision, eliminating any frustration in the process.

3. A lack of clarity: what is in-policy, what is out-of-policy?

Imagine the following scenario: your client’s meeting in Nairobi is running late and he fears he will never make his flight back to Johannesburg in time. He’s about to make changes to his flights and accommodation on his cellphone but realises he’s unsure as to whether the changes he wants to make are in line with the company’s travel policy.

TMCs need to be able to offer their clients the latest up-to-date technology if they want travellers to adhere to the policy. Corporate travellers want to be able to make snap decisions and take snap action. Amadeus Corporate Travel allows corporates to see immediately whether the booking they want to make is in policy or out of policy. It allows them to easily plan, book and purchase travel within the company’s guidelines and policy. With one quick glance, they’ll know what is included in the travel policy, who the preferred suppliers are and what the best negotiated rates are.

4. What’s in it for me?

In all likelihood, the corporate road warrior will be less concerned about saving costs for the company and more concerned with his own comfort during a trip.

To improve policy compliance, companies need to focus on improving the booking and travel experience for employees. If staying within policy will improve traveller satisfaction, then why would they book out of policy?

A TMC can help gather traveller feedback and advise travel managers on what is important for their travellers, their preferences and what their pet peeves are when it comes to travelling for business. They’ll be able to tell the company that some travellers would prefer to book a three-star hotel instead of a four-star hotel, but have more budget for dining.

It’s difficult to find the right balance between enforcing travel policy compliance, traveller satisfaction and cost-containment. However, with the right travel consultant at your side and the right technology at your fingertips, travel policy compliance becomes a lot more straightforward.

This column was first published in Travel Buyer

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This post was written by Jannine Adams

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