managers planned to prioritize in 2014 their search for "innovative ways
to generate savings," according to Carlson Wagonlit Travel's latest annual
study on travel management's most pressing issues. Savings also has been top of
mind in the previous two years, according to CWT's research.
the 2014 study, CWT in November 2013 collected responses from 970 travel
managers worldwide, including 270 in North America. Seventy percent of both
groups rated as a "high" priority finding new ways to save. Among
North American respondents, 62 percent indicated as a top priority efforts to
"further promote the travel program," followed by driving greater
online adoption (53 percent) and optimizing "end-to-end travel processes"
(43 percent). For both North American travel managers and all respondents
across the global survey base, reinforcing corporate social responsibility was
the least cited among seven listed travel management goals, at 17 percent and
16 percent, respectively.
business travel and prices grow in 2014, companies with mature travel programs
will be looking to exploit opportunities for incremental savings as well as
bring new areas into the scope of the program," according to CWT's report.
It cited as opportunities automated airfare tracking and rebooking, consideration
of public and other ground transportation options, and strategic meetings management.
TMC also pointed to opportunities for negotiations with airlines that "take
into account an estimate of the total cost of [various ancillary] fees on a
company's top routes to highlight competitive gaps between carriers," and
consider "any major discrepancies" in airline fuel costs and
surcharges. CWT also wrote that airlines increasingly are willing to negotiate
point-of-origin fares rather than point-of-ticketing fares, something that can
"produce savings of several percentage points."
the United States, for example, point-of-origin offers are quite common among
companies with accounts of over $100 million," the report noted.
terms of travel program promotion (a top priority for 54 percent of the global
survey base), CWT suggested that as travel managers push to explain program benefits,
and as traveler preferences and behaviors evolve, "the culture of control"
is changing, "with a perceptible shift toward "carrot rather than
stick approaches." One method is to incentivize travelers for responsible
booking behavior, though when asked about "game techniques," 43
percent of all survey respondents indicated they are "unsure what this
implies." Fifteen percent said they're interested.
CWT characterized as "respectable" the 16 percent of total
respondents who identified corporate social responsibility as a top 2013
priority. The TMC has "noticed an increase in the number of environmental
and ethics questions in requests for proposals," according to the report.
"This increased focus on CSR is being driven partly by a stricter
regulatory landscape as environmental and labor laws tighten worldwide,
especially regarding carbon reporting and duty of care."
added that some buyers consider "a prompt payment policy to support small
to medium companies and look for ways to increase the use of local
contractors." The report also suggested greater attention being paid to
traveler safety and well-being, including service for "the needs of
specific populations of travelers, such as people with disabilities."