Imposing corporate policy compliance is travel buyers’ greatest nightmare

Nearly 70 per cent of travel buyers say that enforcing policy compliance is among the most challenging aspects of their job, according to new research. The findings from the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) in partnership with RoomIt by CWT also reveal a large gap in traveller knowledge of company policy.

“Travel programme goals can be difficult to reach when travel buyers and business travellers are not on the same page,” said Jessica Collison, GBTA director of research. “The research identifies where disconnects exist between hotel policy and traveller behaviour. Ongoing communication to keep travellers informed on policy can go a long way toward achieving programme goals.”

“Business travellers want to find the right room in the right place with the right amenities – and stay within the rules set by their hotel programme,” said David Falter, president of RoomIt by CWT. “At the end of the day, both the travel manager and traveller ultimately have similar goals to save money. Travel buyers can do so by offering travellers more choice and increasing compliance.”

Reducing programme costs, increasing policy compliance and traveller satisfaction top the list of buyers’ 2019 goals. The majority (78 per cent) of business travellers say they are satisfied with their rate allowances for booking hotels. However, two thirds also say they would like a higher rate allowance to stay at properties that may better meet their needs.

US business travellers are more likely to book luxury properties, potentially out of policy. Only 7 per cent of European buyers say they allow luxury properties in their hotel programmes compared to 16 per cent in the US. And on average only 8 per cent of UK travellers book luxury properties compared to 30 per cent of US-based travellers.

More than three-quarters of business travellers would prefer to book bundled rates including multiple amenities, even if the rate is slightly higher. However, just 11 per cent of programmes always allow booking bundled rates.

When travellers were asked which amenities they would purchase if they had no limits, they cited premium Wi-Fi, gym passes and food delivery services.

Loyalty plays a significantly bigger role in the US. More than half (52 per cent) of US business travellers say they would never consider booking a hotel where they could not earn loyalty points, compared to just 31 per cent in the UK.