Monday 19 February 2018

GUEST BLOG: What makes a truly ‘traveller first’ travel programme?

There are two variables your business travel programme has likely been graded on – cost savings and traveller safety. On paper, these existing programmes have long since achieved these goals: as a manager of team travel, you secure the best pricing, manage expenditures, and have a system in place which tracks travelling employees’ whereabouts.

But in reality, a travel programme isn’t a complete success unless employees are satisfied with it. And you know why: employees are unlikely to follow a process that doesn’t make it easy for them, and not following the procedures only leads to out of policy spend.

Whether you’re building a brand-new programme or overhauling your current managed or open programme, thinking more employee-first will improve your employees’ satisfaction, and perhaps contrary to what you might first think, their safety, and your visibility.

Fundamental #1: You’ve made removing friction your mission

It sounds obvious, but it’s worth repeating often. Employees want a travel programme that’s easy to use and seamless from beginning to end. To achieve this, ask yourself the purpose of every click and every form filled out.

If you find yourself confused, asking questions, or double-checking what to do, your travellers are most likely feeling the same way. Those pain points explain the “why” behind high rates of leakage from the travel programme and other instances of noncompliance, signalling that it’s time to adjust the traveller-averse portions of the process.

Fundamental #2: You’ve built for the apps your travellers already use

By using a familiar, recognisable, and dependable apps like Uber, travel managers reduce the number of employees overwhelmed by how to use the system within the programme. The biggest category you’ll find these apps in is most likely the relative newcomer of on-demand travel, including apps like Uber, so there’s no learning curve to overcome.

These apps also have business functionality already built in, ready for you to tap into! 

Fundamental #3: You’re listening to what your travellers want

Employees want to be heard, and they need a channel through which to be heard. Travel managers who actively solicit feedback from travellers are being receptive and proactive, and employees feel they have a greater role to play within the company. From exit surveys to open office hours, creating and maintaining a constant feedback loop ensures that the traveller-first programme continues to consider options employees want.

Fundamental #4: You’re measuring spend, safety, AND satisfaction

The simplest way to gauge employee satisfaction is to ask them! Sending travellers a survey after each trip is an easy way to build feedback into your existing framework. Questions can be as simple as asking “how satisfied are you?”, or get into detail about the hotel, flight, and ground transportation accommodations. Consistent eights and nines on a scale of one to 10 are a new measure of a successful, traveller-centric programme.

Summing up: why employee satisfaction matters

These four fundamentals minimise stress and maximise satisfaction by utilising what employees already have, taking their feedback into consideration, and making improvements to any hindrances.

At the end of the day, the happier your travellers, the more likely they are to comply with company travel policy. You can’t argue against that being a win-win!

Uber will be on hand to meet attendees and answer questions at the upcoming BusinessTravel Show in London on 21st and 22nd of February. Find us at booth B452.

If you’re planning to attend, you can make an appointment to meet a representative here.


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