‘Embrace technology to make your travel policy fit for travellers’

Will Green is news editor of Supply Management
27 January 2014

27 January 2014 | Will Green

The only way for firms to ensure their travel policy is fit for the future is by embracing technology, a Supply Management webinar was told.

Research by AirPlus International and Supply Management revealed more than three quarters of travel buyers rated traveller feedback as important but just 36 per cent had systems in place to collect information.

Roger Eccleston, head of strategic projects at AirPlus, said: “It’s one thing to collect data but you must be prepared to feedback findings to travellers and then act on them.

“One thing for sure is embracing new technology is the only way to ensure your travel programme is fit for this and coming generations of travellers.”

The survey of 70 procurement managers also uncovered unhappiness with vendors and increasing prices. “There is considerable dissatisfaction with suppliers. Rising costs has not helped in this area,” said Eccleston.

Mark Avery, global business services and travel leader at PwC, told the webinar each year the company spent $420 million on one million flights, $225 million on 1.2 million hotel nights and $30 million on 120,000 car hires.

He said the firm used Twitter and had set up its own social media site to collect and share travel information, while “travel champions” kept colleagues up to date with the latest data.

Third party consultants also gathered information on hotels and flights and travellers were automatically switched to cheaper deals.

“If you make it so easy for people to do business, why would they go anywhere else?” he said.

Carol Neil, head of corporate travel for EMEA at Nomura, said: “You have always got the secret squirrel policy of senior management and you have no control over that. First class travel was an issue of our senior management. I got them to agree to mandate there will be no first class travel.

“The deals we have in place with key providers are very competitive. For those people who go out of the programme there are many ways of capturing that and bringing them back in line. Nothing focuses an individual like saying they are not getting their money back.”

A replay of the Supply Management webinar, sponsored by AirPlus International - Business travel - how to make cost savings and drive travel policy compliance - is available here.

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