Mission impossible: Securing traveller satisfaction
Securing traveller satisfaction
If there were such a thing as a corporate travel holy grail, a high rate of traveller satisfaction would be it.
With 31% of travel managers identifying traveller satisfaction as being key to a successful travel programme, it’s no surprise that a fleet of happy travellers is one of the most coveted circumstances in corporate travel.
Organisations with high rates of traveller satisfaction tend to experience higher employee retention, increased savings on corporate travel, fortified duty of care programmes and an overall reduction in traveller ‘noise’.
However, those that continually struggle with dissatisfied travellers spend time, money and resource on trying to correct the reverse situation; employees becoming so frustrated with the process of booking and managing travel that they are prevented from fulfilling their role, unsatisfactory travel options that force bookers to use out-of-contract and untraceable booking methods and lack of visibility of both travel spend and travellers.
Measuring employee satisfaction
What can you do to stay on top and keep your staff content?
Measure traveller satisfaction to see where you can make improvements. If you find yourself under pressure it’s tempting to write off any negative feedback as traveller noise, but it really is important to take the time to evaluate the opinions that you collect and try to spot patterns. Offer an annual or bi-annual traveller survey with questions structured to focus on specific parts of your travel programme that you feel could be improved or where savings could be made.
Make use of a TMC’s central feedback system. Although it’s easy to focus most of your attention on complaints, don’t forget to look at the commendations too. Commendations can be a great insight to all areas of travel including airlines, hotels, online booking tools and the service that your TMC are providing.
Assess any out-of-policy terms. If travellers are routinely booking out-of-policy travel then spend some time looking at their reasons – you might find that some are valid. Understanding these comments will enable you to pin-point exactly why travellers are spending more and then make steps towards change. For example, their local airport may offer more expensive air fares in comparison to one an hour away, or flight times operated by low cost carriers aren’t convenient.
Put yourself in the travellers’ shoes. and imagine how you like to travel,
what comforts and conveniences do you seek? Access to airport lounges, free Wi-Fi and security fast passes? Do the cost of these amenities outweigh the importance of traveller satisfaction?
What to do with the results?
Review your travel policy.
Once you’ve pulled together all of your findings take a second look at your travel policy in order to highlight the areas where your travellers are most commonly breaking policy. Are the cost limits outdated? Could you be more flexible with booking classes? For example, there are instances in which business class fares are cheaper than economy. Amendments such as this can provide added comfort and drastically improve your travellers’ trip, especially if it’s long haul.
Reconsider your preferred suppliers
Is a hotel you used for an offsite project that’s ended still in your preferred programme? Make use of your account manager and their buying power to get the most out of your negotiated rates. Don’t feel dismayed if the supplier won’t lower the rate - you can ask for other perks, such as Wi-Fi, breakfast or parking.
Don’t forget added perks
Could you stretch budgets to include more ancillary services? For example, if a traveller is flying economy long haul with a lengthy stopover, allow them the luxury of lounge access to help break up their journey.
Hold a refresher course
If you’re hearing a lot of frustration around booking processes then don’t hesitate to ask your TMC for online booking tool refresher training. This can be provided in a variety of ways to ensure that it best meets your organisation’s culture and can help to highlight new features and time saving strategies when booking online.
Stay in touch with your TMC
Maintaining communication with your TMC’s servicing team is essential if you’re to avoid the frustrating experience of expecting a level of service that isn’t delivered. Be clear about your preferences and don’t be afraid to remind your staff of the offline booking process, such as transaction fees for out of hours services, as this will help prevent any disappointment when the cost is quoted.
You can't please everyone
Be thoughtful about what motivates your travellers, what’s important to them and how you can help provide a stress free trip every time.
Travellers often value convenience over comfort, such as flying from an airport closer to home or travel times that suit their meetings without being too worried about the difference in cost. Having control over their travel bookings is usually greatly appreciated and can dramatically improve satisfaction rates.
The reality is that there is no easy fix to secure, and keep, traveller satisfaction. The best thing for travel managers to do is to remain vigilant; you may need to make small changes often and big changes rarely, be aware of industry differences and trends, keep checking on your travellers and don’t be afraid to encourage negative feedback. The more you know, the more you can do.