Changing Booking Behaviors Mean TMCs Can Play Greater Role Helping Travel Programs Manage Bookings and Capture Data
A new GBTA Foundation study released today confirms that travel buyers want their travel management company (TMC) to not only save money, but to improve on data analysis, measurement and reporting while providing travelers a better experience. The first few are hardly surprising given the importance of leveraging spend and driving compliance to travel buyers and their companies, but the last suggests travel buyers also want TMCs to continue expanding beyond their traditional roles.
The GBTA study, which surveyed 297 travel professionals in the United States and the United Kingdom, found that data analysis, performance measurement and reporting (55 percent); cost savings (51 percent) and improving the traveler experience (48 percent) are the top areas U.S. travel buyers want their TMC to improve in over the next five years.
The study also surveyed 710 business travelers in three countries and the data shows that the majority of U.S.-based business travelers are moderately satisfied with their company/TMC when it comes to various elements of the travel experience. Business travelers identified travel convenience (49 percent) including minimal layovers, convenient flight times and convenient hotel locations as the top priority they would like to see their company/TMC improve to make their business travel experience a better one.
These findings all come from a new study, TMCs Today and Tomorrow, conducted by the GBTA Foundation, the education and research arm of the Global Business Travel Association, and sponsored by Concur.
In the U.S., business travelers are generally satisfied with booking business trips through the various channels they used in the past year. Booking directly with an airline or hotel had the highest satisfaction rate at 87 percent followed closely by calling or emailing a travel manager/travel agent (82 percent) and using an online travel agency or travel site (74 percent).
On the other hand, two in five (38 percent) travel buyers whose companies currently allow booking through alternative channels believe their company will be less likely to do so in the next five years. Additionally, two-thirds of the U.S.-based travel buyer respondents also said that their organization does not ever allow travelers to book directly through supplier channels or online travel agencies.
“As booking behaviors change, TMCs have a major role to play in helping travel programs manage how their travelers go about their booking,” said Joseph Bates, GBTA Foundation Vice President of Research. “Understanding why travelers like booking direct and integrating as much as possible from that experience into booking through an online booking tool can increase the level of satisfaction and compliance with a corporate tool. Increased education on travel policies, better use of technology to capture data generated outside of the corporate system and partnerships with suppliers are all ways a TMC can help travel programs better manage traveler behavior.”
“Without understanding of the purchasing behaviors and booking preferences of business travelers, travel management programs are at a loss: spend occurring outside of policy is invisible to the travel manager, thus lessening the impact of negotiated contracts and, most importantly, the effectiveness of Duty of Care obligations,” said R.J. Filipski, Vice President, Business Development at Concur. “Seamlessly integrated technology solutions allow travel managers to better watch their bottom line, capture all booking data and keep their company’s most valuable asset, its people, safe.”
The study, TMC Today and Tomorrow, is available exclusively to GBTA members by clicking here and non-members may purchase the report through the GBTA Foundation by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org.