traveller friction
Tired young woman sleeping at airport with luggage
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Traveller friction – or the wear and tear travel has on the employees of a company – has been in the global limelight for some time, but is now also taking centre stage in South Africa.

Monique Swart, founder of ABTA, explained during a recent ABTA webinar, entitled, ‘What’s hot for corporate travel in 2018’ that although many South African companies used to shrug off traveller friction as unimportant, they are now starting the see the light and introducing concrete measures to manage it better in 2018.

She explains that in 2018, the focus needs to be more on the human element of travel. “It’s not just about cost, it’s about the humans in your company because that’s where the true value lies,” she said.

“The concept of traveller friction has been quite prominent in Europe and the US. We’re starting to see that trend coming to South Africa as well,” agreed Euan McNeil, GM of FCM Travel Solutions.

He explained the challenge in the past for most companies has been that they didn’t have the right data to effectively measure the impact travel is having on employees. As a result, they were not able to put strategies in place to address the impact of traveller friction.

However, McNeil added that this is now changing. He said: “By combining smart data with the goal to address traveller friction, you are able to put in place policies that organisations can actually measure and manage and help drive down traveller friction.

“Traveller friction is a huge focus not only in our business but also from our client base,” agreed Lloyd Barkhuizen, sales director of FCM Travel Solutions, adding that it is important to bring the right content and the right product to make life easier for the traveller.

According to Barkhuizen, although travel has moved from HR to the procurement space, we are seeing an increased dialogue between the two departments. “There’s a merge between the two departments with them talking to each other,” he said, adding that this open and honest conversation is a step in the right direction.

Yolande Koertze, Facilities Manager Hartz, agreed and said that in 2018, we can expect logic to prevail. “Our policy is to look at the lowest logical fare instead of the cheapest fare,” she explained. “An engineer sitting 10 hours in an airport during a long lay-over for an international flight is just not logical and not good for the business.”