Study Also Finds Buyers Have Limited Metrics About Traveler Experience
Most travel buyers agree companies can improve employee retention or reduce turnover through various traveler-centric efforts. These include travel upgrades such as business class (80%), better quality technology (80%), more traveler-centric policies (77%), additional time off for frequent travel (73%), better customer service from their TMC/travel program (68%), better quality vendors/suppliers (63%), and less strict rules (53%). These insights come from a new GBTA study, Leveraging Data to Improve Traveler Experience, conducted in partnership with the Airlines Reporting Corporation (ARC).
However, buyers rarely track indicators relating to the traveler experience. Most of the data they track and disseminate focus on cost and compliance-related issues, including online booking rates, cost savings, and advance purchases. They use these metrics to assess the success of a program and demonstrate their value to senior management and stakeholders. Yet buyers rarely track or share other types of metrics. Fewer than one-quarter say they share traveler-focused metrics (24%) or trip success metrics (14%) with other stakeholders at their company.
The study found that traveler experiences can impact corporate retention and turnover both positively and negatively. Yet because relatively few buyers are tracking and analyzing the travel experience, companies are not getting a complete picture about the impact of their travel policies and approaches. A company may be saving money on its travel program, but ultimately at the cost of traveler dissatisfaction and potential employee turnover. By expanding their data collection, buyers will be better able to assess the ultimate costs and benefits of their managed travel programs.
Buyers today have limited metrics and data sources to measure the travel experience, said Scott Solombrino, GBTA COO and executive director. But trip quality matters to buyers and travelers alike. Travel programs are searching for innovative ways to gather insights about the travel experience, and take action based on these insights.
Our research highlighted some gaps in what is important to road warriors, and what their companies measure and use to lessen their trip friction, said Chuck Thackston, ARCs managing director of data science and research. We found that travel managers are surveying and tracking their road warriors, but only 14% have exclusive travel policies for this critical group. This, in turn, may affect employee satisfaction from stress reduction to retention. There is considerable untapped opportunity to use existing data. Most travel managers (71%) receive data from their companys human resources department. Currently, most (95%) use the data to update traveler profiles. Only 9% use the information to analyze or benchmark their program, and only 6% use the data to inform their understanding of frequent traveler retention/turnover rates.
To learn more, download an infographic here with key highlights from the research. The report, Leveraging Data to Improve Traveler Experience, is available exclusively to GBTA members here.
An online survey of 114 U.S. and Canada travel buyers was conducted, and fielding took place between May 7, 2019 and May 17, 2019. Respondents qualified if they were based in the United States and were a travel buyer or procurement/sourcing professional.