both compliance to travel policies and savings on air and ground transportation
top travel managers' 2013 priorities, both at large and midsize companies and
in most regions of the world, according to a November survey of 706 travel
managers around the world by Carlson Wagonlit Travel's CWT Travel Management
Noting in a report released this week that "companies of all profiles" this year also will focus on
optimizing hotel expenditures, CWT wrote that "as can be expected, travel
managers intend to focus most on areas representing the greatest savings
opportunities rather than those linked more to the traveler experience,"
especially nowadays, "in these economically challenging times." Those
areas also were listed as top priorities in a similar CWT study conducted a year earlier.
indicated that it "asked travel managers to select their top five travel
management priorities for 2013 and rank them in order of importance. The responses
were weighted to take into account how often each priority was ranked" first,
second, third, fourth or fifth.
the exception of Asia/Pacific, lowest on the travel managers' priority list in
all regions this year among the 11 categories included in the report was
"environment," with meetings and events as second-lowest and safety
and security as third-lowest.
environment, identified by 8 percent of respondents as a 2013 priority, "has
consistently ranked at the bottom of the list of traveler managers' priorities
over the past few years," according to CWT. "One reason may be that
the economic slowdown has naturally led to lower carbon emissions than expected
and therefore less pressure to make improvements, but this situation will not
last. Tighter regulation, combined with demand from stakeholders, will
encourage more companies to track their carbon footprint from all areas of
activity, including travel."
priorities among travel managers in different regions don't diverge all that
much, some variances are evident, "reflecting the market conditions faced
by respondents as well as program maturity," according to CWT. For example,
about half of all respondents named travel policy optimization as a priority,
"although the percentage per region varies quite considerably—from 32
percent in Latin America to 53 percent in North America."
North America, 65 percent of the 253 travel manager respondents based in the
region cited compliance as a top-five priority. "Compared with other
regions, travel managers in North America intend to place more focus on
negotiating multi-year contracts and implementing flexible, dynamic negotiations
with suppliers throughout the year; extending the geographical scope of the
travel program and standardizing processes; and leveraging technology (to
tackle meetings and events)," according to the report. They indicated less
of a focus than peers in other regions on "finding the right balance
between negotiated and restricted fare usage; implementing advance booking
rules (to optimize hotel spend); and defining criteria for using travel
287 travel manager respondents in Europe, the Middle East and Africa in
aggregate ranked online adoption third-most important (compared to fourth in
the total sample). These respondents will focus comparatively more on tighter
air and rail policy and advance purchasing, and comparatively less on "negotiating
point-of-origin pricing," expense management tools and social media,
according to CWT.
59 respondents in Asia/Pacific rated safety and security seventh versus the
ninth spot it received from the total sample. According to CWT, they're also
emphasizing "communicating/providing training on the travel policy and
empowering travel counselors to enforce rules," as well as tighter air and
rail policies, booking channel mandates, consolidated hotel spend and more online
key performance indicators ranked fourth among 44 respondents from Latin
America but eighth among the entire survey base. Compared with other regions, travel
managers in Latin America "intend to place more focus on implementing
advance booking rules and tightening rental car policy; introducing mandates on
preferred hotels; tracking changed/canceled bookings and related costs; and offering
traveler profile management tools," according to survey results. Social
media tools ranked comparatively lower in importance.
also separated results for the 63 respondents it termed "global travel managers"
by virtue of their global program responsibility. "As could be expected,"
CWT wrote, these respondents were more likely than the overall sample to cite
as a priority further program consolidation (46 percent versus 33 percent).
They also put greater emphasis on consolidated sourcing, point-of-origin
pricing, new policy mandates and traveler messaging tools.