Is corporate policy dead?

24 October 2017
By Charlotte Lamp Davies, VP of Travel and Hospitality, DataArt

Is-corporate-Travel-Police-Dead

“Corporate travel policy is more a function of corporate culture than anything. But the media, industry researchers and pundits can’t help but make generalizations that can impact the corporate mindset. Are the policy haters harmful to corporate travel management? Where do incentives fit? To Uber, to Airbnb, or not?”

Travel policy is an important part of corporate culture. Established company’s values and principles define the policy statements – from selecting providers and booking methods to controlling spending. The rules ensure that the trips are cost-effective and safe for employees.

But today, one of the disturbing challenges that companies face is making sure that employees comply with the corporate travel policy. According to research conducted by Sabre:

  • More than 43 percent of corporate travellers are deviating from company policy ahead of the trip and 42 percent are making changes while travelling
  • As companies strive to find the balance between driving compliance and increasing their corporate travellers’ satisfaction, respondents have seen corporations actively re-crafting their travel policies to accommodate more booking autonomy

Moreover, almost every business in every industry is experiencing the impact of a younger workforce, who are tech-savvy and agile. Millennials who grew up with the smartphone in hand prefer to communicate, shop, and entertain in a digital world. In the near future, they will be the majority of the workforce, but even now they set the trends that need to be taken into account while building or updating the corporate travel policy:

  • Bleisure. Millennials are considered to have great sense of adventure and exploration, so they are more eager to have “bleisure” trips, by combining business travel with leisure travel. According to a BridgeStreet survey, 78% of respondents agree that adding leisure days to business travel adds value to work assignments
  • Flexibility. Younger travelers are less likely to book air travel based on loyalty program perks, and more likely to book based on which type of experience they prefer. Some companies face the challenge of getting millennials to comply with travel policies and gamified business travel expense systems. Others provide millennials with more freedom and flexibility, and allow them to make arrangements themselves.
  • Sharing economy. With the growth of the sharing economy, companies are being forced to consider sharing options such as Uber and Airbnb in their business travel policies. According to research, younger travelers also were more likely to use roomshare services like Airbnb than their older counterparts, with 67 percent saying they’re interested in staying in a shared home. In the past, companies faced the problem of including the sharing services in their travel policies, but now sharing service providers like Uber, Lyft, Airbnb, and others have business programs to simplify the integration process with the corporate management systems.

The modern business traveler uses a variety of apps to make each trip better. However, without a policy in place to recommend travel technology and apps, travel managers lose the opportunity to improve their program.

These topics and many others will be covered during the DataArt Question Time event in New York, on 26th Oct. If you want to attend the event, please send an email to these address travel.events@datart.com


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