Safety, security and sustainability come first for travel managers, as risk management is increasingly emerging as a major strategic goal of corporate travel managers.
The importance of these ‘three Ss’ was once again highlighted in a Travel Management Microtrends report released by Airplus International, polling 958 travel managers in 24 countries.
In the report, risk management included important considerations such as traveller safety and comfort, data security and long-term environmental sustainability. Duty of care, a term often bandied about in the world of corporate travel, also falls within the ambit of risk management, but it’s also a productivity issue – happier travellers are better workers, according to the Airplus International report.
At least two thirds of the travel managers polled believed their travellers’ safety could be secured, with some using tracking innovations like GPS-based location services.
There was also an indication that travel managers were beginning to eye virtual meetings, not only to guarantee their travellers’ security and cut down on time away for employees, but also to reduce their carbon emissions. However, the report did state that despite replacing some travel with virtual alternatives, corporate travel managers are expecting more travel throughout 2014. In many instances, virtual meetings are supplementing travel, making in-person meetings more efficient and productive.
Interestingly, the adoption of technology seems to be lagging, with only 43% of travel managers saying they use corporate booking tools, although this varied depending on the level of travel spend in companies.
According to the report, 39% of travel managers said that social media tools are already being used in their travel management programmes to, among others, exchange views through review sites, which has become a standard part of the trip process for both leisure and business travellers. Some travel managers believe that since travellers will use social media anyway, it’s better to control the issue by creating managed in-house social media tools.
Finally, an impressive 36% of travel managers polled said they already have travel management apps for mobile phones, while a further 35% expected the trends to become relevant. Examples of travel management apps include mobile expense reporting, itinerary sharing and information about the travel programme, such as policy.
Otto de Vries