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BBT March/April 2019 cover
March/April 2019

What about a bit of old fashioned discipline?

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Mystery Buyer
Mystery Buyer's picture
What about a bit of old fashioned discipline?

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, 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.

Ralf Squires
Ralf Squires's picture
Agreed, but...

"Surely insisting that employees comply with this is better than having them while away the hours online as amateur travel managers"

But "Insisting" just doesn't cut it with some of the Gen Y travellers.

That's when travel managers are encouraged to reach for the new ideas such as "Gaming" or lettng them book their travel the way they want, provided they get the best price on the day. 

If insisiting was all it took, we'd all have compliance in the high 90s and be working 35 hours a week. It was bad enough when they all got computers, but now they have computers in their pockets (phones) and whenever anything goes south, they are on them rebooking or booking new flights, accommodation etc....

As for how long they waste looking up flights, judging by how often they tell me they could have got the flight cheaper, I think they do that anyway. 

NewWorld (not verified)
Anonymous's picture
Lagging behind

This is always going to be a tricky issue – as buyers we don’t want to come down really heavily on those that decide to book their travel independently despite all the encouragement we give them to use the tools we provide them with.The truth is that – in the main – corporate booking tools are still lagging behind what’s available in the leisure sector.It’s hardly surprising our travellers are frustrated by having to use clunky corporate travel websites or apps when they are used to slick and more efficient tools to book their holidays and personal travel trips.

Maybe the corporate sector will catch up one day – but by the then the leisure industry will probably be offering an even better experience online.If we don’t give our travellers the best booking tools and processes, we can’t be shocked when they wander off and book out of programme and policy.

Making them use inadequate tools will only increase their frustration levels.


Thomas Genser
Thomas Genser's picture
A mandate is a mandate

I don't see that there is much of a debate in most companies.

We may be coming out of the recesssion, but our associates know how tight we are on costs, and aren't looking to push the envelope in the eay described here with new technology etc...

The opposite really - it only comes into play when they believe they could achieve a lower cost than the one quoted to them, but if we take the time to explain they usually accept that there are other factors which they haven't considered. 

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