The importance of understanding traveller needs and behaviour cannot be underestimated when it comes to compliance.
This was highlighted during the recent African Business Travel Association (ABTA) event in Johannesburg which saw corporates, TMCs and suppliers come together to discuss and examine corporate hotel programmes.
City Lodge Sales and Marketing Director Peter Schoeman says travel managers need to understand why and how travellers choose where to stay and which hotels best suit their needs.
According to research conducted by City Lodge, location ranks far above all other criteria, including hotel category. “Proximity to business locations is the most important criterion for travellers who generally place practicality over comfort when choosing hotels. Hotel category, while important, is not always a direct driver of traveller satisfaction and all hotel criteria become more important for longer stays.
City Lodge research indicates the most important criteria for hotel selection.
The full benefits of a well-designed hotel programme can be reaped only if travellers respect their travel policy, says Peter. “To improve compliance travel managers can implement a number of best practices, ranging from implementing procedures to ensuring follow up with travellers who book out of policy.
“Although no hotel programme can cover all traveller needs, there is plenty of room to improve compliance with preferred hotels and booking channels.”
Peter says that travel managers believe travellers’ personal preference is the main reason for non-compliance, while travellers cite mainly practical reasons such as distance from place of business that indicate adjustments to the programme may be required.
“Travel policy also has to cater for different generations. Millennials, for example, are different. Companies need to be flexible and allow for combination leisure and business trips for this generation. You simply have to keep in touch with what’s happening around you, and how the workforce is changing.”