Companies are always looking to travel executives to maximize their return for travel spend. Based upon a new study released by the GBTA, an opportunity may exist with add-on traveler amenities most valued by travelers that are not always included in the final contract. The report, “The Valuable Vendor Contract Add-ons” Prioritizing and Communication = Savings” surveyed travel buyers across North America and found that business travelers are consistently spending more on the amenities that they want, like free Wi-Fi, checked bags and itinerary changes. These amenities represent a large opportunity to increase the ROI (return on investment) for travel spend by including these value-adds into the contract when negotiating and signing the deal. “Travel managers need to negotiate for things that are valuable to business travelers, not what is [easily] negotiable,” said GBTA head of research Kate Vasiloff.
Preferred traveler amenities vary with travel segment, but travelers across the board (over 99% of respondents) ranked free Wi-Fi as paramount. So why aren’t these add-ons being linked to the contract?
Communication with travelers and interpretation of the data based on the travelers’ needs is a critical step to bridging the gap from traveler to travel policy, but according to Vasiloff only 1 in 5 travelers act within their travel policy compliance.
Travel buyers appear confident in their efforts to communicate travel policies and negotiated add-ons to their travelers, but very few companies collect data to support this assumption. “Collecting data around compliance rates presents a huge opportunity for companies to identify areas where communication efforts can be improved and money can be saved” said Vasiloff. Over 50% of the travel buyers rely primarily on an annual update of the employee handbook to communicate their travel policies, 36% rely on quarterly emails and the remainder hold an annual meeting with travelers.
As indicated by the GBTA study, increased communication = savings and by collecting better data a large savings opportunity is likely to be uncovered. Aligning these amenities with the traveler’s needs improves the traveler’s experience throughout the journey, not only reducing cost but helping to maintain employee productivity and satisfaction.