Thursday, 14 February 2013

What we can learn from Business Travellers

Authored by Sara Omer

In a recent survey by Business Travel News, business travel policy was once again at odds with travellers and procurement. Only 54% of business travellers were aware of their company’s written travel policy compared to 95% of the buyers who are responsible for buying the travel services; 31% of travellers believed there was an unwritten policy compared to 5% of buyers; 12% of business travellers said there was no written corporate policy and 0% of buyers thought there was no written policy; and 4% of business travellers did not know their policy vs. 0% of buyers. The point is, policy might be set and enforced by procurement, but adherence to the policies is often the point of contention.

At the end of the day, traveller preference, flexibility, work/life balance, business requirements, title and yes, even age of the traveller will make a difference in policy compliance. Younger travellers may use more do-it-yourself (DIY) approaches with their mobile devices and internet travel sites; older individuals prefer to use travel agents and booking assistance. Some individuals work long days and then travel, while others incorporate their travel into long days. Most travellers adjust their schedule for weather, family emergency, customer delays and the unforeseen surprise. Many business travellers tie their business travel to end at their family vacation destination; restarting work travel from the family destination. The point is demographic, flexibility, complexity and business agility all play a role in business travel.

These variations quickly add up and result in what appears to be noncompliance to business travel policy — however in most cases it is simply business changes and personal life balance resulting in increased business performance. Business travellers are a lesson to businesses in general: a bit of flexibility, visibility into demographics and changing circumstances yield higher returns than static compliance. Change is an everyday occurrence, embrace it for better results.


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