Duty of care, traveller wellbeing and data security have topped a list of the concerns of UK travel managers for 2019.
A survey by business travel technology provider Traveldoo shows 73 per cent of travel managers believe duty of care will be the most important challenge facing their organisation this year, followed by traveller wellbeing (70 per cent) and data security (65 per cent). Bringing technology and innovation into their programmes (57 per cent) round out the top four.
These came in ahead of cost saving (56 per cent) and access to full content (55 per cent), showing travel managers are now more concerned with looking after their travellers than cutting costs.
Environmental sustainability (30 per cent) and transport ancillary services (22 per cent) finished off the list.
While only 65 per cent of respondents labelled data security as a “very important” concern, 100 per cent agreed it is a challenge they will face this year.
Meanwhile, 69 per cent of those surveyed said the task of looking after traveller wellbeing is left to dedicated travel managers rather than their company’s HR team, adding another challenge to their role. However, 60 per cent of businesses are actively encouraging and support bleisure as part of their programme, with more than 13 per cent considering adding this as an employee perk.
When it comes to technology, New Distribution Capability (NDC) is still posing a serious challenge for travel managers, with only 9 per cent saying they could confidently explain it to a stranger. Thirty-six per cent have a solid understanding of New Distribution Capability - a new system of technology standards to allow the distribution of airfares and ancillaries through third parties which is being developed by airline association IATA with..., while an equal number know the basics and more than 20 per cent claim they have very limited knowledge – but 81 per cent admit New Distribution Capability - a new system of technology standards to allow the distribution of airfares and ancillaries through third parties which is being developed by airline association IATA with... is of interest and importance to their work.
Traveldoo also asked about travel managers’ willingness to adapt new tools or switch providers, revealing nearly half (46 per cent) wait four years or more before changing a tool, TMC, app or accounting system. The company says this shows respondents prefer to work in the long term despite a competitive marketplace, as well as the fact that training is the main barrier to introducing new technology.
Sam Cande, UK country manager for Traveldoo, commented: “What these stats say about the UK’s travel managers is that they are resilient and resourceful; they care about their travellers above all. Self-booking tools are the future for most, and it’s apparent that everyone can do with a bit of help when it comes to technology, as long as it’s simple and intuitive.”
Traveldoo will release the full report at the Business Travel Show, which takes place from 20-21 February 2019 at London’s Olympia. Visit the team on stand B940 to receive a hard copy of the report.