Nearly 70% of travel buyers have revealed that enforcing policy compliance is among the most challenging aspects of their job, according to the findings of research by Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) in partnership with RoomIt by CWTÒ.
While travellers may book out-of-policy for preferred properties or amenities, there is also a large gap in traveller knowledge of company policy. Reducing programme costs, increasing policy compliance and traveller satisfaction top the list of goals travel buyers have for their travel programmes in 2019. Travel buyers typically negotiate with a variety of suppliers to provide their travellers with the best possible rates.
Jessica Collison, GBTA director of research, said: “Travel programme goals can be difficult to reach when travel buyers and business travellers are not on the same page. The research identifies where disconnects exist between hotel policy and traveller behaviour and provide buyers with areas they can focus on to drive increased cost-savings without necessarily compromising on traveller satisfaction. Ongoing communication to keep travellers informed on policy can go a long way toward achieving programme goals.”
Rates and amenities
78% of business travellers say they are satisfied with their rate allowances for booking hotels, and 66% also say they would like a higher rate allowance to stay at preferred properties that may better meet their needs.
In fact, American business travellers are more likely to book luxury properties, potentially out of policy, according to the research. This trend could be related to higher dissatisfaction with rate allowance.
Business travellers also book amenities to increase satisfaction. Over 75% of business travellers would prefer to book bundled rates including multiple amenities, even if the rate is slightly higher. Travellers often book bundled rates with the belief that doing so ultimately contributes to cost-savings goals, although that may not necessarily be the case.
When travellers were asked which amenities they would purchase on business travel if they had no limits within their company policy, they cited several, including premium WiFi, gym passes and food delivery services.
Loyalty points a major factor
The inability to earn loyalty points could drive traveller dissatisfaction. 71% of travellers believe that if they give up their time to travel, they should have the ability to earn loyalty points and 51% would risk being reprimanded for booking out-of-policy if it meant they could book a hotel where they could earn loyalty points.
Loyalty plays a significantly bigger role in the United States as 25% of business travellers say the ability to earn loyalty points is a factor in choosing where to book, and 52% say they would never consider booking a hotel where they could not earn loyalty points. This compares to 37% in France and 31% in the UK.
“Business travellers want to find the right room in the right place with the right amenities – and stay within the rules set by their hotel programme,” David Falter, president of RoomIt by CWT, said.
“At the end of the day, both the travel manager and traveller ultimately have similar goals to save money. Travel buyers can do so by offering travellers more choice and increasing compliance.”