As we start a new year, we often take time for reflection. We make resolutions to eat better, exercise more and better ourselves in a variety of ways. The beginning of a new year is also the perfect time to make resolutions about our travel programme goals as well.
This is especially timely given that, during the first quarter, you are likely to welcome many new employees and train them on your travel policy. January and February are the top two months for new hires, according to Monster.com. In most regions of the world, hiring season leads directly into peak travel season, with March and April being the months with the most flights in the year.
Science tells us that the easiest resolutions to keep are based on small changes. The good news for travel professionals is that small changes can measurably increase traveller satisfaction and make things easier for you as well. Make 2017 “The Year of the Business Traveller” with these simple steps:
- Lay the Right Policy Groundwork
Now is the time to re-examine your policy and make any changes. Is this the year to add a car-sharing policy? Have you examined how basic economy fares may affect your frequent business travellers? Are there any perks you can add to increase traveller satisfaction. Once you have reviewed your policy, it’s on to step two.
- Communicate. Communicate.
You’re probably getting ready to attend a lot of new employee orientations. This is a great way to share travel policy basics with new travellers and establish good travel behaviour from the get-go. According to ARC and Expedia, the lowest air ticket prices are available more than 21 days in advance, yet only one third of flights worldwide are booked more than 21 days ahead. Encourage new employees to book earlier when possible.
But don’t stop there. Hold a travel fair to clearly outline your travel policy and why you have it. Make sure travellers know that their safety is your top concern. You can invite your TMC and Traveller Risk Management partner, along with selected hotel, air and car suppliers.
Webinars are a cost-effective and easy way to continually share travel policy updates, tips and best practices. Again, make sure that you frame the policy in terms of the benefits to the traveller first.
- Build your Travel Community
Even your most seasoned employees will benefit from travel-related outreach throughout the year. Establishing a social media travel community can help travellers connect and share their experiences. It can also help you to gauge traveller sentiment and gather feedback.
Have some fun with it. Find ways to share policy updates, travel tips or even fun posts with travellers via social media. The more engaged business travellers are, the more likely it is that they’ll make the right choices.
While setting the right foundation is key, if you truly want to make 2017 “The Year of the Business Traveller”, it may be time to examine whether your travel policy choices are helping to retain your most productive travellers or contributing to their burn-out. For minimal cost, you can increase traveller perks, satisfaction and compliance. To learn more, view this short infographic or download the white paper, “The Year of the Business Traveller: Four Keys to Utilising Data to Support Road Warriors In 2017.”
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