A new report by Egencia reveals that companies’ concern for improved traveller satisfaction, productivity and talent retention are increasingly influencing travel policies.
The Egencia Travel Policy Insights: Global Air Edition report highlights key trends in prior approval, access to premium seats, advanced purchase behaviour and day-of-week timing for both booking and travelling.
The findings show that less than half (45 per cent) of travellers are required to adhere to a pre-approval policy. Companies report trying to balance the use of approvals as a barrier to undesirable traveller behaviour and simplifying the booking process by removing the need for sign-off.
Globally, the majority of business travel bookings are in economy class, including premium economy seats, but companies make decisions on which cabin travellers can book based on length of flight – ranging from four to ten hours. As a result, 33 per cent of businesses allow access to premium travel for international trips compared to just 12 per cent of domestic travellers.
Egencia says this shows that traveller comfort is the main driving factor for allowing access to premium cabins.
Previous ARC/Expedia research revealed that Egencia clients have been shifting to longer air booking windows for premium cabin tickets (15-plus days out) in markets such as the US, UK and France. However, 50 per cent of tickets are still booked less than 14 days in advance, showing policies are allowing last-minute purchases.
Furthermore, the data shows that the best day to book for savings – especially on premium seats – is Sunday, while Monday and Tuesday provide additional opportunities to find low fares.
While Monday is the preferred day of travel for both premium and economy class travellers, Egencia says flying in proximity to a weekend opens up opportunities for employees to tack on extra days for a bleisure stay in their destination. In fact, those travelling in premium cabins and international travellers are nearly twice as likely to stay through Saturday.
Egencia says adding a weekend stay to a business trip allows travellers to rest and explore their destination ahead of the working week and also presents potential cost-savings for the business, with Saturday and Sunday tickets typically costing less than weekday travel.
However, the TMC warns that companies that decide to allow bleisure travel should consider creating policies that define responsibilities for costs and traveller security during the leisure portion of a stay.
Read the full report here.