According to a new American Express Global Business Travel study, the leading driver to globalize travel management is to achieve cost savings. For many travel management professionals, a target of 20 percent savings was set and many are projecting that their organizations’ savings could surpass that mark, according to the study.
Traveler safety and security were also identified as a prominent objective when respondents were asked about other benefits to globalization. Interviewees acknowledged the need to have a solid change management strategy and executive buy-in in place to address local market sensitivities likely rooted in regional cultural differences.
The globalization research was conducted by the Expert Insights research practice of American Express Global Business Travel’s Advisory Services in partnership with the Business Travel Media Group (BTMG), which interviewed senior corporate travel management professionals of recently globalized travel programs.
The year-long study is exploring areas of managed travel where regional cultures may influence travel behavior and potentially impact globalization, including: compliance environment, employee travel behavior, governance, and travel and meeting technology alternatives. American Express also initiated a year-long research series with the Association of Corporate Travel Executives (ACTE) to explore travel management practices in North America, Asia-Pacific, and Europe to identify the cultural nuances that may impact travel program globalization achievement.
Results from the first stage North American survey reviewed at ACTE’s convention this week showed what North American-based travel professionals revealed:
• 57 percent have a more lenient “suggested” compliance approach to their programs, with only 44% having a mandated approach.
• 76 percent believe employees’ sense of entitlement is the driving force behind non-compliant behavior
• 46 percent see lack of information around policy benefits is the biggest barrier to changing traveler behavior, with 43 percent indicating insufficient program governance is a barrier
• 69 percent are supplementing face-to-face prospect and client meetings with online technologies like web conference; 41 percent said internal meetings are increasingly being conducted through telepresence
• 81 percent use an online booking tool; 79 percent use an expense reimbursement solution and 51 percent use a pre-trip approval/reporting tool.
It also suggested additional best practices for globalization:
• Assess readiness and culture; have other areas of corporate spending been consolidated
• Identify an executive sponsor to be a long term champion of the strategy and governance
• Create a minimum global policy and establish a process for local markets alterations
• Drive online adoption to optimize booking and reduce potential service fragmentation
• Integrate local stakeholders and do not bias toward a single market.