The majority of corporate travel buyers agree that companies can improve staff retention and reduce employee turnover through various traveller-centric efforts, according to a recent survey.

Research conducted by the GBTA in partnership with the Airlines Reporting Corporation (ARC) shows travel managers believe initiatives such as booking business-class seats on flights and better quality technology (both 80 per cent) can improve the traveller experience.

Furthermore, 77 per cent of those surveyed agree that traveller-centric policies are key to staff retention, followed by offering additional time off for frequent travel (73 per cent), better customer service from their TMC or travel programme (68 per cent), better quality suppliers (63 per cent) and less strict rules (53 per cent).

However, buyers admitted in the survey that they rarely track indicators relating to the traveller experience. Most of the data they track and disseminate focus on cost and compliance-related issues, including online booking rates, cost savings and advanced purchases. These metrics help buyers and travel managers demonstrate their value to senior management and stakeholders, according to the GBTA.

Fewer than a quarter (24 per cent) said they share traveller-focused or trip success metrics (14 per cent) with other stakeholders at their company.

The GBTA said the study found that because very few travel managers are tracking and analysing the travel experience, companies may not be getting a complete picture of the impact it has on staff retention and happiness. It added that while a business may be saving money on its travel programme, ultimately this is at the cost of traveller dissatisfaction and potential employee turnover.

COO and executive director Scott Solombrino commented: “Buyers today have limited metrics and data sources to measure the travel experience. But trip quality matters to buyers and travellers alike. Travel programmes are searching for innovative ways to gather insights about the travel experience, and take action based on these insights.”

Chuck Thackston, MD of data science and research at ARC, added: “Our research highlighted some gaps in what is important to road warriors and what their companies measure and use to lessen their trip friction. We found that travel managers are surveying and tracking their road warriors, but only 14 per cent have exclusive travel policies for this critical group. This, in turn, may affect employee satisfaction from stress reduction to retention.”

When asked where and how they use traveller-specific data, 71 per cent said they receive it from their company’s human resources department, with 95 per cent using it to update traveller profiles. However, only 9 per cent use the information to analyse or benchmark their programme and only 6 per cent use it to inform their understanding of staff retention or turnover rates.

The full report, Leveraging Data to Improve the Traveller Experience, is available exclusively to GBTA members here

The report follows additional research by the GBTA that showed not using appropriate booking tools or not using any at all could be costing companies time and money.

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