I'm hearing a lot of talk on the consumerisation of business travel. It is all about embracing dozens of gee-whizz apps and all-singing-all-dancing booking sites. It is open booking, travel management 2.0, the demands of generation X, Y or Z, or wherever we’re up to (do we go back to Gen A in a few years, like car registrations?)....
But I think we're missing several points.
Do we really want to let our travellers go their own way and do what they want? Bear in mind that when they use this technology it - rather than me - captures their whereabouts and spend if they book by staysomewherefunkytoniteforbuggerall.com, or whatever the latest startup is.
I also don't see how it makes sense to let them waste half a day by picking a flight that goes at the wrong time, but gets them enough points for their next holiday – and waste another 1/2 day surfing the web to find those ‘best’ flights and hotels.
How does this model really help my programme and my company? My company’s employees aren't allowed to choose their salary, their working hours and days, the brand and model of their office computer, their responsibilities, their own budgets? More often than not, not. Hell, many people are even told what to wear to work. So I don't see why, in the so-called ‘emotive’ world of travel, should they choose their hotels, airlines and cabins.
In addition, for the ‘encourage the traveller to choose to do the right thing’ model to work, everyone says you need buy in from your C-level folks. Meaning they ought to travel like everyone else in the company, setting the right example. But in the real world, do most chiefs really fly at the back of the plane and take the airport bus to the budget motel to set a good example? No, of course not.
We are travel professionals & should be able to run a sensible programme that saves employees wasting valuable time, takes into account HR responsibilities & keeps travellers fit & productive, and ensures leverage on any volume-based agreements.
Surely insisting that employees comply with this is better than having them while away the hours online as amateur travel managers.