Rejecting ‘one size fits all’ policies will reap rewards

Business travel recovery awaits companies that reject 'one size fits all' policies, says Priority Pass

02/04/2014

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:
  • Over half of respondents (54%) said that stricter post credit crunch policies meant that they kept business trips as short as possible (possibly to the detriment of the value of the trip in the first place)
  • The use of low cost carriers was up quite significantly. Almost half (46%) of those with stricter policies now regularly travelled this way and over a third (34%) of travellers overall
  • A significant proportion of travellers (71%) expressed that they would be willing to travel more if they were granted just a few privileges along the way

  • 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.

  • The report suggests a number of ways corporate travel managers can accommodate increased travel demand with providing benefits that are cost-effective including: programmes: Looking at individual trip demands and reviewing your policy parameters accordingly – for instance, allowing for long-haul versus short-haul or for multiple-destinations within a short period
  • Considering other benefits that will ease the strain on a trip that don’t necessitate the purchase of a premium ticket. For instance, by providing little ‘extras’ such as concierge service or lounge access travel managers can derive increased value from their people as well as their budgets
  • Exploring opportunities where certain benefits can be provided through third parties (such as a credit card provider)
  • Encouraging staff to provide post-trip feedback, or incrementally over the year to learn about what is working and how to improve

  • 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
    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 600 airport lounges worldwide in 300 cities in over 100 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.