Working with a travel management company (TMC), with the right technology, data management tools, and customer support, is key to making any business travel programme a success. International Data Corporation (IDC) – the leader in market intelligence for the IT, telecommunications, and consumer technology fields – recently released an IDC MarketScape: Worldwide SaaS and cloud-enabled corporate travel booking applications 2019 vendor assessment. The report names Egencia as a leader in the field of cloud-enabled corporate travel booking applications and sheds light on exactly which variables to consider when bringing on board or changing a TMC.
There are many benefits to a tech-based business travel solution, especially for companies looking to scale up.
As the IDC MarketScape points out, corporate travel booking is, at its heart, an exercise in data management. TMCs with advanced technologies, like ours, provide higher levels of programme visibility, productivity, and efficiency in handling travel data. All of which can lead to greater cost savings and compliance, better duty of care, and an improved experience for travellers, travel arrangers, and travel managers.
Here are the top five areas to evaluate when choosing the right TMC to optimise your travel programme:
- Consumer-like booking experience
Today’s workforce is burgeoning with digital natives who are used to the autonomy and flexibility of booking their personal travel online. Choosing a travel management solution that offers a consumer-like booking experience will significantly increase the number of travellers booking in your programme, your online adoption rate, and travel policy compliance. Clunky tools or multiple suppliers with different booking processes are a turn off, difficult to implement and manage, and can lead to poor traveller and travel arranger experiences.
The IDC MarketScape stresses that travellers are looking for a streamlined experience that mirrors consumer functionality (with messaging, simple search, alerts, etc.). Egencia customers have an average online adoption rate of 87 percent because of a simple, consistent user experience.
The benefits of high adoption rates extend beyond traveller experience, resulting in increased policy compliance, enhanced traveller safety with our traveller tracker feature, and cost and time savings.
Nasdaq, achieved a 32 percent reduction in costs thanks to online adoption, which translated to $500,000 in savings, after only six months with Egencia.
- Reduce admin time and empower travel managers
A travel manager’s job has several complex aspects to it, including securing savings by negotiating volume discounts with suppliers, managing travel policy, and overseeing opportunities to maximise the return on investment of their travel budget.
The IDC MarketScape recommends that you ask, does the software help with the process of travel administration?
With our solution, travel managers are empowered to configure and apply travel policy across their travel programme, regardless of how the booking is made with Egencia. Policy parameters are clearly displayed throughout the travel search and planning process, alerting travellers and travel arrangers to non-compliance before the booking is completed. In-built visual cues, as part of the booking process, contribute toward a global average of over 81 percent policy compliance across Egencia customers.
Travel managers can create separate traveler groups (road warriors, senior management, and contractors for example) with different policies and per diems. Travel managers can then access the travel programme data on-demand. They can extract individual itineraries, track the travel spend of a particular group, or identify the location of travellers and contact them in an emergency.
Robust data within Egencia Analytics Studio empowers travel managers in supplier negotiations. Egencia Analytics Studio consolidates and provides customers with their travel data in a way that’s impactful, actionable, and easy-to-use. Travel managers have access to powerful reports with the touch of a button. Reports that they can use to identify cost-saving opportunities and influence future negotiations with suppliers.
- Ensure an extensive supplier network
The IDC MarketScape points out that access to suppliers and partners is one of the main priorities when choosing a TMC, which makes sense. More choice means better deals and more satisfied travellers. After all, not every traveller is the same and neither are their travel preferences.
International consulting firm Zeb recognises the importance of traveller satisfaction to their business overall. “[Our travellers are] spending a lot of nights in hotels, they need to feel comfortable, so, they have a good feeling and don’t ask themselves: Well, why do I stay [at] this hotel? Do I even have the right job?” Dr. Christian Spieker, head of corporate services said.
Leveraging our buying power as part of Expedia Group and offering specially negotiated Egencia Preferred Rates (EPR), not available to any other TMC, allows us to offer an extensive choice of hotels and lodging options. Our customers can book from a choice of 650,000 properties, including apartments, in 200 countries.
Our advantage extends beyond extensive content. Egencia Smart Mix uses machine learning algorithms to prioritise the best deals according to both the traveller’s preferences (based on previous history) and corporate travel policy for hotel booking. Details like whether an airline, hotel, or car rental company awards loyalty points or whether a listing is a preferred rate are displayed in the search results.
Our intelligent sort algorithms use machine learning technologies to help customers get their preferred content first. This means faster booking for the traveller (no more time wasted scrolling through several pages) and greater savings for the company. For example, it typically takes travellers under five minutes to book air travel and less than four minutes to book their accommodation or rail journey.
Egencia Savings Finder for Air, also built with machine learning, continuously shops for lower fares for our customers. If we identify a savings opportunity via a lower air booking, we’ll rebook the traveller at the lower fare without any effort on the part of the traveller or travel arranger. To date, Egencia Savings Finder for Air has saved customers millions of dollars.
We forecast a hugely positive impact when Egencia Savings Finder for Hotel launches later this year and expect to create even more savings for our customers.
- Look for data integration
The IDC MarketScape highlights the need to help travellers on the go and emphasises the importance of finding a solution that can deliver.
At Egencia, because our technology and data are fully owned, developed, and managed by us, everything a traveller needs is accessible everywhere and at any time, in a way that’s intuitive, familiar, and easy to use.
Our single business travel solution and advanced machine learning simplify the travel and booking experience for travellers and travel arrangers. For instance, trips are synced with a traveller’s calendar to see where they need to be across multiple days of a trip.
Travellers and travel arrangers can access any detail of their itinerary in one place rather than sifting through multiple apps and travel sites. And with the Egencia app, travellers have access to maps with various forms of transportation – including ridesharing and rail – so they can make smart choices on the go.
Travellers are alerted of flight cancelations and disruptions within the app when they’re on the road. In addition, our crisis communication team is constantly monitoring global news and events and will alert travelers through the app if delays or disruptions are imminent. Travel managers can also use our Traveller Tracker to locate where travellers are scheduled to be and contact them in an emergency.
- Look for global capabilities
For companies with global travel programmes spanning multiple countries, and for companies looking to scale into new countries, the IDC MarketScape recommends choosing a TMC that can offer an integrated solution, no matter the location.
This kind of global consistency was really important to Nordic media company Egmont, especially for its employees switching between the organisation’s different companies, across different countries. “That [travellers] enter and see the same platform and the same layout is really important. Employees are shifting between [our] different companies so as a company we can be much more flexible,” category manager, Adam Massigeh explained.
The IDC MarketScape report recognises our extensive global capabilities, spanning in more than 60 countries with a partner ecosystem in over 30,000 cities across 200 countries. We’re with our customers every step of the way. We have over 3000 travel consultants to help you with complex trips and disruptions 24/7, 365 days a year. With native language support in over 32 languages, in over 60 countries around the world. This means global inventory and global support.
Many TMCs support their travellers on a regional basis. The use of multiple regional services results in a fractured and inconsistent experience across a global workforce. Our single business travel solution delivers a cohesive user experience no matter where they’re based or where they’re travelling. “We have an end-to-end process which is the same in every country, so even when we have multinational teams, they all use the same tool, it’s the same for everybody and it’s a great thing,” Spieker said.
Plus, all travel details — no matter where in the world — are consolidated on one platform, making for highly valuable data. A travel manager can easily use the reporting within the Egencia Analytics Studio to identify travel patterns that provide potential savings opportunities and negotiate better supplier rates.
As a respected source for market intelligence in high performing technology, IDC has its finger on the pulse of best practices for businesses. With the IDC MarketScape report on worldwide SaaS and cloud-enabled corporate travel booking applications, IDC has not only recognised the growing role technology is playing in the realm of business travel but identified and evaluated the players in the field.
After a thorough evaluation of our strengths and capabilities, the IDC MarketScape has positioned Egencia in the Leaders Category and recommends, to anyone looking for a new TMC, to consider Egencia for a travel booking tool with global scale and access to tightly integrated consumer traveller software and data. We’re proud to be named a leader.