A survey that was conducted over 300 travel managers across the world shows telling differences between the factors participants mentioned were key in the assessment of  a business travel program and the various factors actually measured. The study was carried out by the BCD Travel and ACTE Global (Association of Corporate Travel Executives).

Amongst the areas where that missing link was pronounced was in the evaluation of a trip’s productivity and ROI. Whilst 81% of the survey participants mentioned that measuring those factors are important to tailoring a successful business travel program, just 13% in actuality do so. Likewise, traveller friction issues such as safety, wellness and willingness to business travel were tagged important by almost 87% of participants, although just 21% actually measure it. Traveller satisfaction and engagement were also indicated by the managers, though only lower numbers made up the measurement scale of those factors.

This disconnect is linked to the outdated quality measurement methods and approaches. In spite of the fact that the industry has undergone a sea change such as digital trip management and online booking, the methods employed for the measurement of travel program effectiveness has remained the same for several decades, the study reported.

Another problem, as per the survey, is that most travel managers today are heavily dependent on 3rd party sources for the measurement of quality. 94% make use of data from TMCs and 81% utilize data from several outside suppliers for measuring stats, compared to just 61% that poll business travelers directly through surveys. This shift towards external sources suggests that corporate or business travel programs might overvalue hard data and flunk to cash on what qualitative feedback can do, the report said.

And now for the solution. As per the BCD and ACTE study, companies have to tap the full potential of technologies such as Big Data, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Blockchain to determine the real quality and value of a travel program. To explain further the point, the study also mentioned the transformative value and effect that such technologies will have on finance. The looming economic crisis in several parts of the globe will enforce enhanced scrutiny from the likes of regulators and consumers pushing the finance department of companies and organizations to rethink their quality processes and to be much more transparent and accountable. That process resulted in enhanced engagement with consumers directly, more open platform and increased quality data, all of which will directly benefit the customer, the report said.   

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