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Lesley's Column

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27th June 2016

Keeping travellers happy

“Traveller Happiness”. I have to say as a procurement consultant, Traveller Happiness has never weighed heavily in my criteria for supplier selection. Of course it’s important to consider safety, security and traveller wellbeing, but does the traveller actually need to be happy, what are the benefits to the company or is it simply more about employee satisfaction?

There is no doubt that in today’s world of unlimited choice it is better for the traveller to buy in to the company travel programme than mandate a policy that is hard to enforce and police.

More focus has to be put on improving the online booking process. The content options through corporate tools does not compare to the supplier offering via direct channels. It’s doubtful this will ever change as the suppliers are going to continue to withhold content to maintain that experience.

Travellers expect choice in 2016. People want to make informed choices. Understanding the best choices for travellers within the context of policy and booking histories, dynamic traveler profiles and predictive tools could start to address this issue.

Convenience of travel is amongst the most difficult to address as it can conflict with procurement strategies, convenience often requires a savings trade-off that companies don’t want to make. There is also a desire to bypass painful processes like security and waiting in line to board a plane or check into a hotel. This may be partially resolved by aligning with supplier loyalty programs.

Reliable wifi connections, ease of expense reporting and time flexibility, allowing a healthy work/life balance are all key to a creating the ‘Happy Traveller’.

Time to review the travel policy again!