London: Companies that offer low-cost ancillary travel benefits will be the biggest beneficiaries as the industry sees business travel frequency increase and begin to return to pre-recession levels, according to a research paper by Priority Pass. In Travel policies: the personnel perspective – launched at the Business Travel Show in London this week – it argues that companies which have started to bring more flexibility to their travel policies in line with this rise will benefit from their frequent travellers being more effective, engaged and committed without having to increase spend.
Based on a survey of over 500 frequent business travellers approximately 4 in 10 (37%) of respondents said their company travel polices had become stricter since the credit crunch with no change afoot despite the recent and predicted increases. A quarter (25%) of respondents, however said their policies had become stricter post the credit crunch but were now becoming more flexible.
Priority Pass identifies these companies as the ‘pioneers’ that will not only help continue to drive this recovery but also as those which will derive the most value from it. It is urging travel managers to look now at how they can start to ‘bridge the gap’ between rising travel demand and static budgets to safeguard the productivity and effectiveness of these trips and their travelling staff.
The research looked at factors including the ‘downgrading’ effect of more strictly implemented policies post 2008. When respondents were asked to rank the top five benefits they missed the most as a result of these stricter policies, 17% put flight upgrades at number one, 13% said hotel upgrades, Priority check-in came out with 11% missing it most and 10% said that airport lounge access was the number one benefit they missed most. Interestingly the majority of these were centred around the airport experience, suggesting this is the aspect of the journey where travellers most value additional privileges.The research also found that:
Priority Pass believes the findings are timely and a catalyst of opportunity for companies to reassess their travel policies to take into account this upwards trend whilst adhering to the necessity for on-going cost management.
Errol McGlothan, General Manager, EMEA, Priority Pass said: “Our research shows that even modest benefits can make a real difference to staff effectiveness and morale and make them feel more valued – to the point that if more benefits were offered they’d be more prepared for trips to be longer in duration.
“We know that travel budgets will not be reverting back to pre-2008 levels in response of this increase - and neither should they. As travel frequency rises an emphasis on prudent allocation of budget against demand will be key. The provision of low-cost ancillary benefits relative to the types of journey undertaken and that help ease some of the strains on travellers will empower travel managers to move away from a one-size-fits-all approach and make informed policy decisions centred around productivity and value.”
NOTES TO EDITORS:
Priority Pass provides frequent travelers with airport lounge access, irrespective of their class of travel, airline flown or existing membership in an airline loyalty program. Launched in 1992, Priority Pass now offers more than 1200 airport lounges worldwide in 500 cities in over 140 countries. Priority Pass is part of Priority Travel Group, a division of Collinson Group, specialising in the international travel clubs and services sector. For more information, visit www.prioritypass.com.