The business travel experience can be improved through mobile apps, enhancements to corporate travel cards, and by placing the experience in the hands of the traveler.
Today’s business travelers are some of the world’s most savvy travelers. They know what they want out of their travel experiences, and employers are more and more likely to accommodate these needs. Happy travelers mean happy employees, and many companies are making changes in areas from booking, payments, and technology in order to optimize the business travel experience.
Business Traveler Satisfaction Important to Employers
A recent survey that looked at business traveler satisfaction revealed that companies are increasingly creating “traveler satisfaction programs” to gain insight into how they can make the travel experience a great experience for their employees. Findings revealed that 20% of surveyed companies already have such a program and another 29% were expected to launch one in the next two years.
The survey also showed that travel buyers are looking at various ways to improve the experience, including integrating more technology into the travel experience, improving the expense management process, and homing in on employee data to personalize the travel experience.
The Right Corporate Travel Cards Can Improve the Traveler Experience
An often forgotten point is that the travel experience includes more than the days employees are actually traveling; it includes planning, booking, and the tasks that need to be done when the employee is back in the office, such as submitting expenses. With the associated policies and procedures in place for travel expenses, the booking and expense of travel can often be one of the biggest hassles of business travel.
While traditional corporate travel cards have been the standard way of paying for expenses, travel companies are realizing that there are other options that improve the experience for both travelers and travel managers. Payments using Virtual Card Numbers (VCNs) are becoming increasingly popular because they offer a number of benefits across the board, including flexibility, online account management, seamless integration, and more.
Major expenses such as hotel rooms can be paid by a company-provided VCN without the need for the employee to use their corporate card and then have to expense the cost when they return. The process is flexible enough to allow employees to use their card for incidentals, and at the same time, it gives the travel manager greater control of expenses, and provides greater fraud protection than regular corporate travel cards.
Better Technology Is Key to Business Traveler Experience
As with leisure travel, a huge component in improving traveler experiences is technology. From mobile booking to rideshare apps to keyless entry for rental cars, technology is enabling seamless experiences that really make a difference to business travelers in a hurry.
As we’ve covered previously, business travelers who travel the most (five times a year or more) are more likely to book travel on their smartphone and often book between a day and a week prior to departure – much different than leisure travelers.
The irony is that the travelers who are most savvy have been frustrated by the lack of innovation in the corporate travel sector. Companies that are able to increase the satisfaction of these frequent business travelers – through easy booking, easy payments, and the technology to improve their travel experiences - will see greater adherence to policies and happier employees.