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In business travel, it’s become common practice to use a single corporate travel tool to book travel and process expenses. However, the needs and desires of today’s business traveler have evolved in recent years, especially as millennials have entered the workforce and have shifted expectations in what they need and want out of a business trip. The new demands of the modern business traveler means that a one-size-fits-all solution is no longer necessary, cost-effective, or productive for every traveler and every company.
A recent Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) study found that more than seven in 10 business travelers in the US, Italy, Canada, and Spain said they’d rather use self-service technology to manage their travel instead of working with their organization’s travel manager/agency. Additionally, most business travelers are open to sharing personal information with vendors to receive a more personalized travel experience, while four in 10 frequent business travelers regularly shop and book directly with suppliers and OTAs in addition to the traditional, company-provided channel.
And millennials, who are forecast to make up 50 percent of the global workforce by 2020, want more variety in their supplier options than older travelers, according to a study from American Express Global Business Travel and GBTA. For some travelers, especially those on the younger side, being beholden to one tool that claims do everything for everyone can often feel restrictive.
It makes sense. This generation of business travelers have come to expect relevant, customizable experiences, thanks to the rise of mobile, as well as innovations in areas such as artificial intelligence, dynamic personalization, and user-centric design. Legacy platforms such as Concur , which combine expense management with travel booking tools into a single vendor solution, may not meet the individual needs of those travelers looking to integrate more customizable options when it comes to managing expenses and travel.
This may be why business travelers are often dissatisfied with their corporate travel tools. Another survey from GBTA in partnership with American Express (opens in PDF) found that one in three travelers view the expense, booking, and change processes as the most frustrating parts of the trip. And if a travel and expense management tool isn’t convenient for their individual needs, travelers don’t want to use it, leading to challenges and higher costs for corporate travel managers and travel management companies.
“We’ve spent too much time as an industry focusing on the expense side of the equation, when we really should be designing tools that delight the traveler and make life easier for the travel manager and travel management company,” said John F. Rizzo, President and Chief Operating Officer at Deem, a mobile and cloud technology provider for the business travel industry. “We shouldn’t allow legacy platforms to bully corporations into using single platform tools that don’t fit their needs—they should be using best of breed solutions instead.”
Chrome River Technologies, a global provider of expense reporting and invoice management, is one such company that understands the value of offering travelers customized solutions that work for them. “Our global customers have always been working with multiple systems,” said Alan Rich, President at Chrome River. “They pick the best booking tool that meets their needs in each region, and then it’s our job to tie them together with a common global expense solution. Today’s web service technology makes tight integrations straightforward. It enables all companies to focus on delivering great solutions to their employees without having to worry about tying the pieces together.”
The allure of a single vendor travel and expense program can be appealing from an efficiency perspective, but if that comes at the cost of a better experience for the traveler, higher costs for the company, or a fragmentation of the booking that causes servicing headaches for the travel management company, it may not be the best way to go.
This content was created collaboratively by Deem and Skift’s branded content studio, SkiftX.
Deem recently announced its newest platform: Deem Work Fource and Open Expense, a software suite for booking and managing corporate travel that provides unique solutions for travelers, corporate travel managers, travel management companies, and suppliers. To learn more about how Deem Work Fource and Open Expense can help your corporate travel business, visit Deem’s offerings at https://www.deem.com.