One in five (21 percent) companies have traveler satisfaction programs in place, 29 percent are working on it and 50 percent do not have any plans to create one, according to new, first-of-its-kind research out today from the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) in partnership with Dinova. It’s no secret that traveler experience has been a topic du jour for the business travel industry for several years now; this research explores where it is a reality, and not just a trend for discussion.
The research goes beyond just whether or not companies have traveler satisfaction programs in place. It answers how organizations are measuring satisfaction and who is involved. It delves into the elements that make up traveler satisfaction, per diem logistics, guideline strategies, the role of technology and more. In particular, the research aimed to understand the role of ancillaries in driving and measuring satisfaction.
“Traveler satisfaction is the buzz phrase of our industry right now, but what are companies actually doing, or not doing?” said Alison Galik, President of Dinova. “The findings tell us that established companies with large, global programs are the early adopters. Surprisingly, cost savings isn’t central to their motivation, focusing instead on duty of care and process efficiency as a way to realize financial benefit. Whereas, those with no plans are squarely focused on duty of care and rely on policy enforcement to drive cost savings. We were also excited to see that companies are recognizing that ancillary categories like dining really do influence traveler satisfaction.”
“Business travel is often viewed as a career perk, but it can also be an exhausting experience,” said Hannah Jaffee, GBTA research analyst. “While few organizations currently have traveler satisfaction programs in place, interest in traveler experience is not likely to go away. While implementing a traveler satisfaction program requires time and investment – those who measure satisfaction see results – so buyers may want to consider doing so to drive results in employee satisfaction and retention, policy compliance and cost savings.”
- Established organizations with a broad reach lead the way in traveler satisfaction – When looking at which types of organizations have traveler satisfaction programs in place:
- Three in four (76%) have more than 5,000 employees
- More than half (57%) have a global reach
- Nearly two in three (62%) have high annual travel spend
- On average, organizations with traveler satisfaction programs in place tend to have more parameters in their policy –
- Four in five (79%) organizations with established traveler satisfaction programs have corporate credit card mandates, which is significantly higher than those with no plans for a program (58%).
- Three in four (77%) organizations with traveler satisfaction programs in place have preferred air suppliers, compared to 59% of those without plans to implement.
- Other areas in which organizations with established traveler satisfaction programs have more parameters than organizations without plans to implement one include rate and per diem maximums for certain cities (60% vs. 46%), parameters on the types of accommodations travelers can book (74% vs. 61%), and preferred hotel suppliers (72% vs. 62%).
- Organizations with an established traveler satisfaction program are also more flexible than organizations without plans to implement one in allowing travelers to expense dining purchases such as refreshments (e.g., coffee, snacks) (69% vs. 62%), room service (57% vs. 53%), food delivery services (44% vs. 36%), and alcoholic beverages (26% vs. 15%).
To learn more, download an infographic here with key highlights from the research. The report, Traveler Satisfaction Outlook: Are Companies Focused on What Matters?, is available exclusively to GBTA members here.
Learn more about the research findings during an education session at GBTA Convention 2019 on Tuesday, August 6 at 9:45AM CT in room S504ab. The sessions will explore what organizations are doing to impact traveler satisfaction, how organizations with satisfaction programs set themselves apart, and how prioritizing satisfaction impacts a number of organizational goals.
A webinar featuring the research results and will also take place on October 3 at 2 PM ET. Register now.
An online survey of 240 U.S. travel buyers was conducted, and fielding took place between February 6, 2019 and February 16, 2019. Respondents qualified if they were based in the United States and were a travel buyer or procurement/sourcing professional.
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