ASATA Column: The importance of membership

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Feeling unproductive and restless while travelling for business? Your company’s travel programme might just be too focused on cost and not enough on your well-being.

With most companies having had to tighten their belts, a knee-jerk reaction has ensued which has seen travel managers enforce stricter travel policies. For the traveller, this often equals less expensive hotels, less convenient flights and as a result, a lot of frustration.

And, this frustration, or traveller friction, could just cost the company more than they anticipated. A recent study, The Hidden Expenses of a Cost-Focused Travel Program, conducted by the Airlines Reporting Corporation (ARC), shows that strict travel policies have a direct effect on the retention of employees.

It seems that road warriors in cost-focused travel programmes are 13% more likely to be interested in a new job than their colleagues working for companies with traveller-oriented programmes. To put this into numbers and greater perspective: replacing a highly paid employee can ultimately cost up to 213% of the employee’s annual salary.

The good news is that change is imminent!

Increasingly, companies are waking up to the fact that the cost of ‘cheap’ travel is in fact quite high, and they are starting to shift to a more traveller-centric approach.

Advito’s latest industry forecast shows that travel managers have started making their policies more appealing, focusing on improving comfort and reducing stress on the road and having happier, more productive travellers.

For the traveller, this means more perks. Expect frequent flyer elite status, cabin upgrades and lounge access. For hotels, travellers will see more room upgrades as well as free breakfast and wi-fi.

To make the process of perks more straightforward, airlines are moving to standardise services by introducing corporate recognition programmes, which offer all travelling employees complimentary service benefits like higher priority when boarding, protection from offloading on over-booked flights and priority rebooking following disruption. Hotels have started offering free drink coupons and complimentary local experiences.

Traveller satisfaction is high on the agenda for travel managers and ASATA travel consultants. They will keep you informed, will provide a channel for your feedback, and seek additional benefits from suppliers. So, talk to your ASATA travel consultant today to increase your satisfaction.

Otto de Vries
ASATA CEO

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