This is rightly named as the age of traveler-centricity and with the evolution of the new era of personalized travel; it is leading to the research and development of a host of new so-called intelligent services. The command-and-control perspectives of traveling have changed a lot from the past and the focus has shifted more on the traveler and the productivity of each trip. It has become essential to maintain that the travelers have the greatest return on investment on each trip. New generations of young employees and managers who have been growing up and living in a digital age are moving up the ranks as travelers. It has become essential to recognize the need for greater flexibility acknowledging that the employees who travel on corporate trips also consider a percentage of their trip to be a leisure outlet. With increasing globalization and growth in companies sending their staff overseas to network and connect with their offshore prospects / customers / suppliers, corporate travel is a highly profitable tourism segment. Before we talk about how tourism companies can better cater for business travelers, let us first look at why they prefer to use specialized corporate agencies over traditional agents
Why do business use Corporate Travel Agencies?
This may be the most basic a question for a travel agency as to why they need to use agencies specializing in corporate travel when there are plenty of regular travel agents on the market. Here is the importance of corporate travel agencies who have online systems that allow business travelers to access their complete itinerary.
The following information is at the fingertips of the CTAs: –
- full business itinerary details
- up-to-date tracking details of flights (including delays or rescheduling)
- transparent details about additional costs such as
- complete and up-to-date details of visa procurement policies and identification required
- currency requirement and conversion rates
What do corporate clients expect from Corporate Travel Agencies?
The Corporate Agencies tend to have tie-ups with hotels, car rentals, flights etc. giving them access to low fares which can only be used by frequent business travelers. Discounted rates are not the only advantage as they also offer flight upgrades, room upgrades, and VIP check-in lines as required.
In-depth information about travel industry
Corporate travel agents have access to many travel resources and most importantly, quickly, than any other leisure travel agent. Additional information helps to make the business trips convenient and comfortable.
Changes in Itinerary
When an airline ticket needs to be rescheduled or canceled, chances are the airline or the online service provider will charge lofty fees. When booking with a corporate travel agent, most of the time schedule changes can be made at zero or minimum extra charges.
Viable emergency contacts
It is important for the business travelers to reach the right person at the need of trouble. Corporate travel agents have the experience and professionalism to relieve stress for both the traveler and the company.
Business Travel Barometer reported that corporate travel is witnessing an accelerated growth.
What do you need to consider as corporate travel increases? However, when poorly managed, it may be no longer an advantage to companies and may, in fact, become a burden. There are some factors that the corporations and CTAs must consider to get the best out of the time spent traveling.
Adopting a travel policy
The corporate must define a travel policy that is applicable to and respected by travelers at all levels. This policy should be used to establish the standards that will help track the improvement of business travel. It will eventually help reduce the cost of the entire package.
Do not limit the traveler's autonomy
The management is responsible for budgeting the travel policy that helps to improve cost management but it is also essential to give a degree of autonomy to the traveler. The policy should be flexible enough to allow the employee to adapt the trip as per the situation.
Traveler's security should be a major concern
Business travelers need to have security in place. The company needs to stick to its definition of standards to ensure the employee's integrity. The CTAs should have reliable partners (travel insurance, airlines, hotel chains, etc.).
Mobility and automation
To optimize time and ease the processes, administration of management platforms should have automated processes. This means that they should adopt mobile solutions where search options, travel alerts, ticket reservations etc. can be accessed quickly, easily and on the go.
Corporate Travel Trends in 2016
Corporate travel trends tend to change regularly. 2016 also has not been any different and the travel management companies (TMCs) and corporate travel agencies (CTAs) are quite focused to provide steady if not strong axes all over. A growing MICE sector, investments in mobile and large data and enhanced focus on the duty of care are some of their areas of focus.
The consolidated buzzword among global suppliers, airfares, hotel rates etc. is the rising fares. It is sometimes the move of the suppliers to generate discounts which encourage travel if there is a strong declination in demand. A positive 2016 world economy has been bringing a rise in air fares of a few percentage points, hotels are expected to see a 4% -6% rise in average global rates and the competition will remain moderate in car rental services.
Duty of care
Risk management is one of the major points of emphasis for corporations. Corporate customers are allowing new policies and improved technologies to monitor employees & # 39; location in case of emergency, especially when traveling to foreign destinations. For example, Concur Risk Messaging helps to identify travelers traveling around the world and warns them with alternate travel arrangements as and when needed.
Focusing on MICE
Meetings industry is a major growing sector and the corporate travel trend is developing on it. The corporate travel agencies should better start aligning the various meeting procurement methods with its transient travel sourcing. One of the ways could be to broad the variety of meeting services by incorporating incentive trips within it.
Investing in technology
A sharper focus on increasing value and becoming more traveler-centric can be done by bringing in mobile friendly technologies. Mobile and big data are definitely the two most significant technological investments that any corporate travel agency needs to focus on making their platform more appealing.
Business travel analysis after Brexit
Following Brexit, ACTE and CAPA shared their speculations. According to them, the greatest short-term effects on the travel industry will come from the weakening of the pound against other world treaties. Greeley Koch, executive director for the Association of Corporate Travel Executives, said that the business travel industry will be a trend of currency fluctuations; with some companies taking advantage of the weaker pound and traveling more, while others may hold business travel until the world markets find their own level.
Impact of terrorism on corporate travelers
Travel policy makers and administrators need to be guided by rising terrorism scare. For travel agents and corporate travel agents, travel agents and corporate travel agents (CTAs) should provide the reassurance for their safety through the travel policies. It is more than likely that the surveys conducted over corporate travelers reflect the general concern of global business travelers about the spate of terrorism. However, there is no denying that the terrorist threat is changing the patterns of business travel. The key impact of this is to keep in mind that the companies providing travel services for business travelers need to enhance their focus on security and the associated risks in delivering services to corporate clients. According to a recent finding, travel managers have higher estimation of their policy's effectiveness in addressing the risk compared to skeptical business travelers.
Although the corporate travel sector has continued to progress, there are a plethora of challenges faced by the industry. The rapidly changing consumer market, the emergence of new business models, the impact of technology, man-made and natural crises are some of the fulcrum points that need to be considered before planning corporate trips.