How can procurement managers guide corporate travellers towards better travel choices in 2019?

Corporate Travel

Direct feedback from frequent corporate travellers can be a powerful tool in the arsenal of a corporate travel procurement manager in their efforts to achieve better compliance and engagement, and to reduce the human cost of frequent travel.

FCM Travel Solutions South Africa GM Nicole Adonis unpacks the importance of traveller feedback as a performance measure in this month’s SmartProcurement, as well as leveraging behavioural economics to encourage travel choices that are policy friendly.

In 2019, FCM Travel Solutions believes that understanding traveller pain points will be a key way to influence corporate travellers to make better choices about their trips and to increase the effectiveness of corporate travel programmes.

“The insights garnered from your frequent traveller can be used to tweak travel programmes. By encouraging your travellers to give feedback, you also show them care about service levels, want to offer more-personalised experiences and have their wellbeing at heart. Happy travellers are more productive, more engaged and more likely to comply with the company’s travel policy”, says Adonis.

Adonis and her team of travel experts will be placing continued focus in 2019 on the negative impact of travel friction, which occurs when business people are travelling too much or have poor travel experiences.

Main sources of travel friction, she says, include unclear travel programme policies, poor approval processes and travel policies that fail to factor in the human cost of travel or prioritise financial savings over traveller wellbeing.

“Companies should keep a look out for the warning signs among their most prolific travellers, which include employee absence, poor staff retention and reluctance to travel, among others”, says Adonis.

A further focus area for FCM Travel Solutions in 2019 will be to help corporates understand the impact of behavioural economics on travel decision-making.

Combining insights from psychology, judgement, decision-making and economics, the field of behavioural economics considers why individuals make purchasing decisions, what they will buy and how much they are willing to spend.

“In corporate travel, decisions that are made daily can have a significant impact on a company’s bottom line and on the wellbeing, productivity and morale of the corporate traveller”, explains Adonis.

“By understanding behavioural economics, subtle changes to travel policies can be implemented to ‘nudge’ employees to behave and choose travel options that fit within the company’s travel policy.”

An example is providing travellers with a choice of three hotels at three different price points, instead of only two: “In this scenario, most people would choose the middle-ranged price option, not the most expensive or the cheapest. This theory is dubbed the ‘decoy effect’, so introducing a third decoy option influences a person’s behaviour to choose the option you want”.

At a time when corporate travel budgets are being slashed, encouraging staff to comply with corporate travel policy and efforts to save on travel costs is critical. “Companies have to get creative and do things differently if they want to succeed”, says Adonis.

An understanding and application of behavioural economics into corporate travel decision-making can deliver not only on achieving compliance, but also on reducing traveller friction.

Your travel management company (TMC), as the corporate travel expert, should be in a strong position to assist you proactively to achieve this compliance as well as to mitigate the negative impact of travel friction on your staff and on your company.

“At FCM Travel Solutions, we’ve spent some time researching what travellers can expect in 2019 and have compiled a paper on such trends as behavioural economics, traveller friction, personalisation and streamlined payment options. This paper is available on our website to anyone who has an interest in corporate travel and where it is heading in 2019”, concludes Adonis.

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