Business travel: How to rein in rogue bookers

BELLEVUE, Washington, USA, 30 October 2017: Rogue bookings, or business travellers booking outside of their travel programme parameters, remain a major issue for companies, a recent study* by Egencia, the business travel arm of the Expedia group.

While 60% of companies have a travel policy in place, more than half of the business travellers surveyed still ignored the company’s travel policy, and a full 46% for their hotel bookings, the 4th edition Egencia Business Travel and Technology Survey stated.

Egencia is a travel management tool that allows business travellers to make their own bookings that have been fine-tuned to adhere a company’s travel policy.

Expedia’s business travel tool does away with the need to hire a travel management company cutting considerable expense for a company, while robustly controlling the travel choices.

To rein in rogue bookings, the study suggests that relevancy, incentives and clearer travel policies would reduce rogue bookings.

Usually, business travellers book out-of-policy because either they could not find a hotel close enough to their destination (37%), or found a better price or hotel within their per diem (37%).

With this in mind, providing relevance in a travel programme means the business traveller must have access to a selection of hotel choices at the top of their online search results that are tailored to their needs.

This can include location of hotels, as well as flexible booking options. Additionally, offering fair and competitive pricing eliminates the need to shop outside the company’s preferred booking channels.

“When it comes to hotels, we know that it’s not about searching, it’s about finding. That’s why we find ways to serve up the right choice for business travellers within the first few search results. And it works – 75% of Egencia travelers book one of the top seven hotel results and over half book from the top three,” said, Egencia vice president global supply-lodging, Andrew Dyer.

“Travellers want an intuitive, cross-device experience with clear descriptions of what is included in the price. With this, they can feel confident that they are booking the right accommodations, which will in turn increase policy compliance.”

According to the study, incentives for staying within policy vary by region, but globally, monetary rewards prove to be the most likely incentive to encourage travellers to book within their policy.

The study showed that 62% of business travellers say that they would choose within policy if they received a percentage of savings for booking below the cap, and an additional 60% would comply if they received funds they could apply to other travel options. While it’s widely discussed that US travellers prioritize loyalty points, the Egencia study found that loyalty points are the second most likely reason business travellers would book within policy, which is an indicator that their priorities could be changing.

When travellers book within policy, companies can protect the safety of their travellers and create cost efficiencies in the long-term. With increased adoption of policies and booking tools, travel managers can immediately locate travellers in an emergency, whether it is weather-related, geopolitical and/or a terrorism event. Access to immediate, accurate reports helps keep travelers safe wherever they are in the world. The concept of going rogue creates extra work for safety officers who must locate individual straying travellers in an emergency, and it calls for more time spent on collecting data streams from rogue bookings to consolidate into a comprehensive report, which leads to more spending overall.

According to GBTA, 79% of travel managers acknowledge that using a travel management company (TMC) leads to more efficient processes and drives savings in business travel[1].

The most successful travel policies can drive compliance among travellers, which means companies can ensure the safety of their travellers first and foremost, in addition to driving cost savings long-term.

*This study was conducted on behalf of Egencia by Northstar, a globally integrated strategic insights consulting firm. The study was conducted among 4521 business travellers aged 18 and older in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Norway, Singapore, Sweden, United Kingdom and United States (with n=500 surveys completed per country). Surveys were completed online in April and May 2017.

Egencia, driven by consumer insights and technology investments from its parent company, Expedia, connects everything travellers need – content, technology, service and reporting – in one place. Egencia provides services in more than 65 countries.