Companies know that a corporate travel policy is only effective if travelers are actually following it, so managing traveler behavior is a necessary next step that follows closely behind the supplier negotiations process. In most cases, travelers are trying to do the right thing; they are simply not aware of what is in-policy vs. out-of-policy, nor the value the policy can bring to their organization. Travel buyers know that savings potential lies within this uncertainty.
Companies with successful programs and those that continue to achieve savings, have found ways to leverage their corporate travel policy to drive savings through a more focused approach on their travelers. This begins with concise and accurate measurements of missed opportunities, combined with education and an advanced communication strategy where companies can reinforce the messages of compliance and accountability.
It all begins with a strategy to drive travel program engagement
The more companies can drive engagement and accountability within their traveler population, the more potential savings there are for corporate travel programs. While company cultures vary, there are several methods companies can use to influence traveler behavior:
Education—make sure your stakeholders are aware of the basics of what defines an efficient travel program and that they are aware of the company’s travel policy, preferred suppliers, etc. Creating “welcome kits” for new employees is an effective way to teach the appropriate behavior and much easier than correcting suboptimal behavior.
Communication—use a variety of tools such as CWT Program Messenger, CWT To Go, Traveler Scorecards and other approaches, including the use of company signage, educational seminars (in person or online), and clear guidelines posted on the travel page of your corporate intranet site. Format communications in an engaging way that appeals to how your travelers consume information and include not only the policy specifics, but the rationale behind the policy.
Encouragement—introduce recognition and reward systems through gamification tools or a more informal program developed in conjunction with your corporate travel and human resources teams.
Feedback—encourage travelers to provide feedback and suggestions. Let them know you want to hear from them. Your travelers are ‘expert researchers.’ Their feedback can provide key intelligence to benefit your travel program while raising their engagement level.
Challenges impacting traveler behavior
With all the noise in the industry, from suppliers to media and advertisers, and peers, there are a variety of voices competing for your travelers' attention and ultimately, shaping their purchasing behaviors.
Three of the top reasons CWT sees for non-compliant traveler behavior are:
Unaware of current corporate travel policy guidelines (in-policy vs. out-of-policy activities)
Well-intended assumptions that it is the right decision to use non-preferred vendors to save money
A lack of understanding of how out-of-policy decisions impact vendor agreements and contracts
Additionally, travelers are being drawn away from corporate programs by suppliers who are enticing them with attractive offers from their loyalty programs or to use their vendor apps, which may cause missed opportunities for monitoring behavior. Similarly, your travelers will likely be targeted with offers coming from personal credit card companies and from new industry entrants, such as Uber, Lyft and Airbnb.
To learn more about how the CWT Solutions Group can assist with influencing traveler behavior, please contact your CWT representative or visit www.cwt-solutions-group.com.