Impact Publications : MICEBTN-68
Page 34 • MICEBTN - SEPT-NOV 2017 Travel managers say mobility is most important - and premium economy is the ‘new biz class’ SABRE Corporation has released its 2017 Asia Pacific Corporate Traveller study*, which shows 80 per cent of travel managers now see mobility as the biggest priority in managing corporate travel. Other major findings are that premium economy is the new ‘corporate favourite class’ and that companies are trying to stay on top of corporate travellers who increasingly are deviating from their travel policy. “The increasing incidence of non-compliance is the re- sult of corporate travellers booking out of policy, where they extend business trips to include some leisure time at their own expense. With more companies shifting accountability of policy compliance to the traveller, the ability to integrate non-traditional sources of flight and accommodation, and to change plans easily while on the go will go a long way in helping the corporate traveller adhere to policy without compromising on the quality of travel,” said Jason Toothman, vice president of global accounts, Sabre Travel Network Asia Pacific. Making changes According to the study (conducted with corporate travel professionals from 19 countries in the region), more than 43 per cent of corporate travellers are devi- ating from company policy ahead of the trip and 42 per cent are making changes while travelling. As companies strive to find the balance between driv- ing compliance and increasing their corporate travellers’ satisfaction, respondents have seen corporations active- ly re-crafting their travel policies (32 per cent in 2015 vs 47 per cent in 2016) to accommodate more booking autonomy. One quarter of respondents also noted that most of their clients have deployed mobile app(s) that incorporate policy compliance options, shifting account- ability of compliance to the traveller. Going mobile When asked what they consider to be the biggest pri- ority in managing corporate travel in their organisation, 80 per cent of travel managers believe mobility – from making a booking through a mobile device, to itinerary management, to staying in touch with their traveller via instant messaging - is their top priority, highlighting the importance placed on moving towards a ‘mobile first’ strategy. 66 per cent also quoted looking at alternative forms of payment technology as a high priority area for them. Today, new technologies are emerging at a rapid pace, ultimately opening up countless new revenue channels for travel companies to tap into. Travel managers have an opportunity to engage their corporate travellers on multiple devices at all points of the journey for a truly seamless trip. Product solutions that can seamlessly inte- grate booking, itinerary management, messaging, virtual payments, expenses reporting and travel risk manage- ment will help corporate travellers improve their traveller experience, while helping their organisations to maximise efficiency, streamline expenses and improve compliance. Flying premium Companies are cutting back on premium class air travel and as such, premium economy options have become the next best alternative without significantly impacting travellers’ comfort. From the report, over half of the respondents indicated that companies are switching class from business to premium economy. On the other hand, some businesses are upgrading travellers from economy to premium economy for higher traveller satisfaction. Both forces have contributed to 81 per cent of respondents seeing an increase in premium economy bookings. *The Sabre Asia Pacific Travel Study surveyed corporate travel professionals from 19 key markets across the region, representing corporate travel management companies and travel agencies servicing corporate accounts. Countries covered included Afghanistan, Australia, Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Malaysia, Nepal, New Zealand, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Taiwan and Thailand.