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26 Feb 2020

Diversity Travel reveals results of 2019 client survey

Specialist travel management company, Diversity Travel, has announced details of its annual client survey.

The survey, which was completed by almost 2,000 Charity, Academic and Government professionals, reveals respondents’ views on topics such as response times, online vs offline booking, policy compliance, duty of care and Brexit.

Respondents included bookers, travel managers, travellers, finance directors and procurement managers, the majority of which book travel for themselves.

When asked to rank top travel management features in order of preference, there were slight differences from sector to sector. For respondents from the Charity sector, the onus fell upon “speed of response” and “lowest cost”, which ranked first and second respectively. Within the Academic sector, “ease of use of online booking tools” proved to be the most important factor. This can be linked to the continual shift in preference towards online tools as opposed to offline booking - an increase of 11% since last year.

The increasing trend for booking flights online was not something that was reflected within the Charity sector, perhaps a consequence of the more complex itineraries that NGO clients request from TMCs. The majority of these air bookings are still preferred to be made via phone or email, enabling the specialist consultants to add value by offering advice and options for more complex and sometimes risky journeys.

The ongoing tendency towards swifter response times was indicated across both sectors. 20% of all respondents expect a 1-hour turnaround time for quotes - an increase of 5% on 2018. It remains a complex picture, however, as the majority of bookers are happy to receive quotes anything from 2 hours from enquiry, to the next day. It is the responsibility of the specialist TMC and procurement to ensure that the right service levels are therefore being designed for the right bookers, (and online tools are being optimised) if both parties want to minimise the cost to serve.

In a market that consciously sends travellers into the most challenging of destinations, duty of care is predictably a hot topic. Almost a fifth of those who completed the survey indicated that they have been impacted by an unexpected incident when travelling for work, including natural disasters, terrorism, civil unrest and health concerns.

Out of policy booking remains a challenge for client organisations, with over 60% of respondents stating they had booked business travel by a means other than their contracted provider. Booking outside of policy could be attributed to the fact that 26% of respondents are not familiar with their travel policy, an increase of 3% from the year before. Fortunately, for both organisations and their TMCs, this may be an easy fix; 41% of respondents said that they are unfamiliar with their travel policy simply because they are unaware of where it is stored!

Despite political uncertainty in the UK at the time of survey completion, 20% of respondents are expecting to travel more for business in 2020, suggesting continued optimism within the sector.

“Improving sustainability” was a new option for travel programme priorities in 2020, and ranked 5th out of 10 across both sectors. It’s expected that, with a growing focus on sustainable travel and many organisations introducing CO2 quotas, this preference will quickly move up in the rankings

Commenting on the results, Steve Summers, Sales & Marketing Director at Diversity Travel said: “Our annual client survey allows us to get a solid view of how our sectors are thinking and feeling about their travel requirements, and how we perform. I am delighted to see our performance ranking for both ‘lowest cost’ and ‘speed of response’ has improved over last year, reflecting the work we have put into these priority areas.

The survey also allows us to understand how we can tailor our service offering by thinking about trends, issues and expectations of business travel in 2020, and we look forward to making more announcements on this in the future”.

Twenty-nineteen hailed an unprecedented period of expansion for Diversity Travel, which saw the firm grow from 153 to 176 full-time staff. Meanwhile, the company’s achievements have also brought several recent accolades, including the Business Travel Agent of the Year Award at the TTG Travel Awards - the highly respected industry awards that recognise outstanding individuals and teams within and across corporate business travel management.

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