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GBTA Unveils First Corporate Study for Asia PacificSeptember 27, 2011 By: George Dooley Travel Agent
The GBTA Foundation, the research arm of the Global Business Travel Association, and Egencia, the corporate travel arm of Expedia, Inc., released results from its first Corporate Travel Policy study for Asia Pacific (APAC). The study explores trends and effectiveness in policies. The GBTA released a recent study of European policy as well.
“In every part of the world we seek to spread best practices for travel and meetings management, especially as business and travel are global in nature. These findings allow us to benchmark travel policies in the Asia Pacific region, where spend on business travel is rising, and further share with our global membership strategies for success and also areas that offer opportunity to improve,” said Joe Bates, director of Research, GBTA Foundation.
Based on best practices and insights from 421 travel buyers based in Asia Pacific, the study takes a comprehensive look at policy mandates versus guidelines, consolidation, booking procedures, class of service, advance purchases, pre-trip approval, groups/meetings and emergencies, and ancillary fees among other issues – all of which comprise variables that make travel difficult to standardize.
“Controlling travel associated costs and maximizing savings are key travel management objectives,” said Cecilia Routledge, managing director Egencia APAC. “Our study reveals industry insights for APAC travel managers that will allow companies to benchmark themselves against both APAC and global companies in order to drive maximum cost savings through custom-tailored travel programs that offer, among other benefits, preferred rate hotels.”
The survey collected information on if and how companies are tracking ancillary fees, finding that only 31% of APAC buyers are tracking ancillary fees. Of the 69 percent of travel buyers in APAC that do not currently track ancillary fees, 61 percent are not sure when they plan to start tracking the fees indicating uncertainty on how to capture and report on ancillary spending within their current programs.
Travel managers in APAC said that they are most likely to reimburse travelers for the following ancillary fees for air and hotel:
• Air: The top amenities travel buyers will reimburse are for baggage fees (53 percent), itinerary changes (52 percent), in-flight meals (33 percent) and in-flight Internet (13 percent).
• Hotel: The top amenities travel buyers will reimburse are for Internet access (72 percent), airport shuttle (58 percent), parking (40 percent), and for late check-out (38 percent).
Forty-eight percent of respondents said travel policy is more a guideline that employees should observe, rather than a mandate, with requests for future compliance considered a ‘slap on the wrist’. Companies with larger travel spend are more likely to have a written policy, but 11 percent of companies do not have a written travel policy. The study suggests that organizations could dramatically benefit from better enforcement and the associated savings.
Fifty-two percent of travel managers in APAC do not authorize business class air travel to any destination. However of those that do allow an upgrade in air travel, primarily allow business class air travel for long-haul flights to: Europe (38 percent), North America (34 percent), South America (30 percent) and the Middle East-Africa (25 percent).
Lowest Logical Fares (LLF)
The study also explores policy standards around LLFs, which represents the lowest fare that is consistent with a corporation’s travel policy.
• Booking Windows: 40 percent of survey respondents include windows in their policy requiring travelers to consider lower fare alternatives before or after their originally preferred departure time.
• Connections: 26 percent of respondents require travelers to accept connections when savings are available and connections do not extend travel time unreasonably.
• Alternate Airports: 15 percent of respondents encourage the use of alternate airports if they are reasonably close to actual destinations.
The complete Perspectives on Corporate Travel Policy in the Asia-Pacific Region study is available through info.egencia.com/2011GBTALandingPageAPAC.html and www.gbta.org/Lists/Resource%20Library/Forms/Foundation_Research_and_Surveys.aspx.