News For Planners

How do business travelers feel about travel management?

Wednesday, 8/24/2011  3:08:37 PM

Each year, millions of business travelers either hit the road or take to the skies to attend important meetings for their companies. In fact, the business travel industry, which garners an approximate $263 billion in revenue annually, is one of the few industries that is still noticeably expanding despite the economic recession.

This is because the value of face to face meetings in sales-based businesses is indisputable. Not only do personal connections foster stronger business relationships, but by meeting face-to-face, associates and executives have the opportunity to collaborate with each other in the name of innovating new ideas and programs, thus further growing their businesses and hopefully generating more sales.

A recent poll by the Global Business Traveler Association and Executive Travel Magazine asked business travelers about their attitudes toward their own experiences on the road. The survey revealed that business travelers come from all tiers of a company, with 51 percent asserting that they were C-level executives and above and 49 percent claiming they were in management or occupied associate roles. When asked what aspects of business travel were important to them, over 93 percent reported that savings were among the top concerns. Another 94 percent asserted that traveler satisfaction was equally important.

In short, business travelers want it all for the lowest possible price. And when questioned as to how their companies would secure these needs, only 55 percent responded that their company had a strategic travel management plan in place.

With the importance of meetings acutely understood throughout the industry, many professional planners are shocked at the number of businesses that do not implement a strategic travel management program.

"There is no question that a strategic managed travel program makes it possible for companies to efficiently budget and use all of their resources to reach their travel objectives and foster business relationships," said GBTA Foundation director of research, Joe Bates. "[At the same time,] There is a growing premium on successful travel programs, especially during a period where companies need to invest in travel to bolster revenues."

Businesses looking to secure travel management at the lowest possible price may want to consider hiring an in-house travel manager or meeting planner. A meeting planner is responsible for evaluating travel options, including flight and accommodation expenses, and securing the best deal for your bottom line. In addition, it is their responsibility to make sure that all booked plans will meet the needs of traveling associates.

By implementing a plan for travel management, businesses can invest a little now to save a lot later while at the same time ensuring that their employees have a pleasant experience that is free from the common hassles business travelers encounter.

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