Tailored Approach to Traveller Services Saves Companies Money

Four tips from CWT on online booking, service configuration, traveller services and expense management

Carlson Wagonlit Travel, a global leader specialized in business travel management, today published the latest in-depth report by its research arm, the CWT Travel Management Institute. Based on the results of surveys of travel managers, travellers and travel arrangers, as well as analyses of CWT client transactions, Business Traveller Services: Finding the Right Fit underlines the importance of tailoring traveller services to each company’s specific context. This tailored approach can lead to savings in a company’s travel spend and a better understanding of the traveller’s needs.
The CWT research brings fresh data and case studies to guide travel managers in four main areas:
The benefits of online booking tools when implementation is tailored to each company: for example, surveyed travel managers estimate that ticket prices are 7 percent lower on average when booked online. However, companies need to consider the proportion of trips that are best handled offline: online booking is less efficient and more costly when transactions involve queries or errors that cannot be handled automatically. 
Companies need to balance savings and program objectives with travellers’ needs when selecting a service configuration. The main available configurations (on-site service, full-service, standardized and multinational service centres) each best serve different priorities. When switching configurations, travel managers need to consider criteria ranging from local content and service support to their company’s ability to manage change. Feedback shows that similar satisfaction scores are from any of the configurations when implemented well, while the savings companies can make by switching service configurations vary with the starting point but can reach 20 percent of operational costs. 
Services can enhance the traveller’s experience, while boosting well-being and productivity. The CWT report looks at the benefits of seven services and how companies take advantage of them: web-based traveller portals, traveller profile tools, mobile services, emergency assistance and risk management services, social media, VIP and end-to-end services, and unused-ticket management services. For example, 54 percent of travel managers do not know if their travellers use social media. However, in some companies travellers rarely use social media while others use it extensively for business travel purposes. 
Improving expense management can bring considerable cost savings, while increasing policy compliance and reducing fraud. With expense management providers increasingly offering bundled solutions (integrating online booking tools or payment card systems, for example), 47 percent of surveyed travel managers say travel management companies should include expense management in their offerings. 
Commenting on the research, Christophe Renard, Vice President, Corporate Marketing and Business Intelligence said, “Travel managers face a multitude of choices when implementing traveller services and the best solutions for their company may not be immediately obvious. The enormous body of data the team has analysed as well as the extensive research they have conducted allow us to share valuable insights with our clients; I am confident this research will benefit all our customers around the world.”
The full report, Business Traveller Services: Finding the Right Fit, is published by the CWT Travel Management Institute and available on www.carlsonwagonlit.com.
CWT used a range of research techniques for the global study carried out from September 2010 to April 2011 including in-depth surveys of 2,439 travellers and traveller arrangers and 204 travel managers from 15 companies; analysis of transaction data from 474 global, regional and local clients; case studies of 6 global companies; interviews with over 40 industry experts.
The full report, Business Traveller Services: Finding the Right Fit, is published by the CWT Travel Management Institute and available on www.carlsonwagonlit.com.
[pictured: Englishman in the Campagna by Carl Spitzweg (c. 1845)]