In the past couple of weeks, we’ve looked at the benefits of a more visible corporate travel industry for travel managers and suppliers. But travellers will benefit, too, mostly from an understanding of what it is we actually do.
For example, many travellers think flight attendants main job is to pass out beverages and meals during a flight. Maybe some duty-free shopping. But the main job is actually looking after passengers’ safety while on board the aircraft. Yet, that isn’t very visible.
Similarly, in corporate travel, travellers think that agents ‘just’ book their arrangements. They don’t see the support network in place to provide duty-of-care and other (non-essential) care. Yet, once they make the connection their understanding brings great benefits:
The one most travel managers are after. And not very hard to achieve: communication is the secret. And the secret in the secret is explanations. Don’t just send email after email reminding employees of the travel policy; explain your (or your company’s) reasons why you have a policy in the first place and how it works favourably for your travellers.
Knowing why there is a travel programme in place will help in fostering trust between travel managers and travellers. Remember, trust builds when someone knows someone else is looking after them and genuinely caring for their safety and well-being.
- Ownership & Feedback
Once you’ve built trust and increased compliance (as well as knowledge about the travel programme), travellers are going to share their thoughts and give feedback. Taking this seriously and acting upon it (where appropriate) develops a sense of ownership. And once employees feel they ‘own’ the travel programme, they won’t feel the need to book elsewhere. Rather, they’ll tell everyone else how important it is to stay in policy.
Let’s be honest, the above benefits are major benefits for the travel manager, really. Yes, they also benefit the traveller because they feel understood and supported, but mainly it’s beneficial for a smoothly run programme. But there’s something that is a benefit for the traveller: performance. Trusting the travel program and booking inside policy means he can focus on the work, rather than trying to find a better deal and losing about 3 hours searching the web.
There are, of course, many other benefits employees have from traveling per se: improved (client) relationships, sharing knowledge and understanding of (cultural) differences, better trading success and finding new business opportunities. But these don’t help travellers see the corporate travel industry.
Together we can #TranformCorporateTravel.
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