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This is how corporate agents will make money in the future

What does the corporate travel manager look at when booking a business trip in 2015? It's a cocktail of mostly savings, a bit of duty of care and a touch of traveller service.

What does the corporate travel manager look at when booking a business trip in 2015? It’s a cocktail of mostly savings, a bit of duty of care and a touch of traveller service.

In recent years (thanks to the GFC and weakened Australian dollar), service has taken the back road to savings, with more than half of corporate travel managers saying hotel or air deals are the primary driver of their managed travel programme.

This was considerably higher than the 23 percent that selected accommodation and flights based on duty of care and even more than the 16 percent that booking based on traveller service.

However, this is expected to completely change by the time we hit 2017, according to an Association of Corporate Travel Executives (ACTE) study, which found your corporate clients will be enticed to book based on service rather than supplier cost reductions.

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The Evolution of Travel Policy: A Global View report found 84 percent of respondents say savings will be achieved through demand management and compliance in the next 1 – 2 years.

While this is good news for consultants that keep thorough records and forecasts of demand services, it will be hard for those without the proper tools to make the most of business.

The research suggests around 44 percent of respondents say they have no formal systems in place for gathering feedback from their travellers.

Technology and business travel

Commenting on the findings, Caroline Strachan, Vice President of Global Business Consulting at American Express Global Business Travel, said understanding the future is going to be ‘traveller-centric’ and travel managers need to have the right technology and tools to deliver this future and earn more money.

“The research suggests there’s scope for travel managers to upgrade their communications systems and practice.”

Caroline Strachan, American Express Global Business Travel Vice President of Global Business Consulting

The study also found that only 30 percent of organisations have already deployed pre-trip messaging services, which are seen as a great way to communicate with clients and stay front-of-mind throughout their holiday.

Do you think service will take the forefront over savings in the coming years?