Sharing better for travel policy compliance
We are living through a new period focused on the idea of sharing. Social media culture, Peer-to-peer transactions and the “sharing economy” are now taglines for everything. Sharing isn’t a revolutionary concept but its sudden application to the sphere of business travel opens the floor to some interesting questions about what to share.
In today’s world of constant connectivity and instant information, travelers have become used to having 1000s of search results at their fingertips, helping them make booking decisions. Until recently however, there was a common agreement among industry players that visual guilt (the idea that travelers, seeing both higher and lower airfares, would opt for the lower) alone would push travelers to make more economic online booking choices. Unsurprisingly, this idea aged badly as OTAs and airlines brought online tools and travelers began making their own travel arrangements outside of the office.
Corporate online booking tools responded by strengthening their policy enforcement capabilities, but travel policies are never one-size-fits-all, even within the smallest companies. Pre-emptive education and visibility finally became the keys to successful online enforcement and that’s as far as sharing got.
Having pricing and policy information available to travelers has always been a solid approach, but there’s possibilities available by sharing new typews of data with travelers. What if travelers could see how their booking choices matched up to their company’s policies at or before the point of sale? And what if they could also see how they measured up to the travel spend of fellow employees?
The old idea of guilt would be replaced by context.
Screen guilt may still be effective in some areas, but sharing a vision at the bigger context can lead travelers to other questions:
- “How does my trip compare to my colleagues?”
- “Why is my trip more expensive than the average?”
- “Where can I improve what I’m spending?”
In fact, sharing benchmark data can make a much larger difference than saving a few percentage points on a handful of advanced purchases – this type of data can help teach travelers how to stay within travel policy.
Even the most well-informed travelers can use some help when it comes to making the best choices. By leveraging benchmark data, travel management companies—or even individual companies—can also tap into the hidden potential of context to drive travel policy compliance.
The trend in the availability of information is growing Embracing that trend, and offering travelers new ways to have their information is certainly a firm step toward success. Sharing can be a powerful thing, especially when it comes to travel data, and the industry will advance the more it considers how bringing that data to the forefront of travelers’ booking experiences can improve T&E programs.