Travel managers are playing an increasingly influential role their company’s travel policy, a new survey has revealed.

The increase in status for travel professionals has been fuelled by the growing use of online booking tools and the increased focus of cost saving, the report said.

ravel Policy Trends: ‘Control’ – What Does it Mean and Who Has It was drawn up by GBTA Foundation, the research arm of the Global Business Travel Association and Egencia, the corporate travel arm of Expedia.

It quizzed about 1,500 travel professionals across the world, asking what “control” over travel policy meant to them.

A significant majority of travel managers (60 per cent) said they had more control over policy than a few years ago.

The majority of travel managers worldwide (61 per cent) said they regarded driving costs as a key indicator of control. The figure for European managers was 64 per cent, second only to Latin America (73 per cent).

Setting policy (41 per cent worldwide, 36 per cent Europe), driving compliance (35 per cent, 31 per cent), use of corporate tools (31 per cent, 38 per cent), use of preferred suppliers (30 per cent, 30 per cent), motivating traveller behaviour (29 per cent, 32 per cent) and having a travel strategy (25 per cent, 26per cent) were seen as the other main indicators of control.

The survey also found that travel managers in Europe were using mobile phones and social media to keep in touch with their travellers. 62 per cent said they stayed connected while their travellers were on the road.

It also found that globally only 34 per cent of travellers used their phones and apps to keep in touch with other travellers.

Technology also played a major part in driving travel policy, especially in Europe. A large majority of European managers (76 per cent) said that increased data and improved booking tools helped push compliance and assist in negotiations with suppliers.

More than half of the European managers (51 per cent) are adding more information into online booking tools helping to push the use of approved corporate booking channels to 80 per cent.

“Our study shows that the impact of technology, such as mobile devices, is reshaping both the travellers’ experience and travel manager’s role in simultaneously supporting traveller needs and corporate objectives,” said Christophe Peymirat, Egencia’s senior vp EMEA and APAC.

“Travel professionals play a vital role in balancing the need to get travellers on the road to make the face-to-face connections that strengthen business ties while also spending corporate dollars wisely,” Paul Tilstone, managing director of GBTA Europe, said.

“This study shows travel managers are gaining more control over budgets to help contain costs and ensure that road warriors can be as effective as possible.” 


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