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29 Jan 2019

Simplicity, security and safety are top of the list for UK travel managers

A challenging year ahead, or business as usual? As 2019 kicks off, business travel technology providers, Traveldoo, tests the mood amongst travel managers with a myth-busting start-of-year survey

Duty of care, traveller wellbeing and secure technology are the top concerns of the UK’s travel managers this year. With an ever-changing industry environment, and dramatic political and economic factors on the horizon, business travel tech providers Traveldoo ask the UK’s top travel managers the burning questions on everyone’s mind. The full report will be available at The Business Travel Show this February.

Top challenges*

  1. Duty of care (73%)
  2. Traveller wellbeing (70%)
  3. Data security (65%)
  4. Technology & Innovation (57%)
  5. Cost saving (56%)
  6. Full content (55%)
  7. Environmental sustainability (30%)
  8. Transport ancillary services (22%)

*based on a rating of ‘very important’, multiple answers selected

Respondents rated duty of care, and traveller wellbeing are the most important challenges for their organisation in 2019, above cost savings, transport ancillary services and environmental sustainability. The human factor trumps the list as political changes, the global economic slowdown, and the mysteries of NDC take a back seat to travel managers evidently just getting on with the business at hand.

Travel and tech

Data security continues to be a key concern with 100% of respondents emphasising its key importance. Surprisingly, a small sample of managers (4%) still cite technology and innovation as ‘not very important’, despite the advent of an array of tools and tech at their fingertips, including those that protect personal data as well as streamline planning and accounting, like Traveldoo’s Travel and Expense management solution. Traveldoo surveyed travel managers who are looking after tech savvy (74%) travellers in their 30’s and 40’s, with millennials only taking up 13% of the workforce they look after. Over 70% have already adopted self-booking tools, and are successfully generating bookings, whilst technophobia or tech-fatigue may explain why 17% say their organisations haven’t yet adopted self-booking tools.

Business travel and wellness

Compliance is an ongoing issue: organisations are tightening up their travel policies - over 78% surveyed described their organisation’s travel policy as ‘strict’. Who is in charge of travellers’ wellbeing, safety and security? This falls primarily to the dedicated and expert travel management teams (69%) rather than HR department (30%), and the finance department who don’t get involved at all (0%). Several organisations even have a Chief Happiness Officer: an enviable title and reflective of the growing emphasis on staff wellness, morale and, of course, retention. More and more businesses (60%) are actively encouraging and support ‘bleisure’ extensions as part of their corporate travel programme, with over 13% considering adding this as a perk.

Booking tools and apps

NCD is still somewhat of an unknown quantity, just 9% responded that they could confidently explain it to a stranger, whilst 36% have a solid understanding and 36% know the basics over 20% have a very limited knowledge. Still some work to go for this to filter thoroughly to all travel managers, though most (81%) admit it’s of interest and importance to their work.

The pace of change has certainly accelerated, with more mobile apps and self-booking tools on the market, and travel management companies vying for business. Traveldoo asked about travel manager’s predisposition for change, and the majority (46%) would wait four years or, more before changing a tool, management company, app or accounting system, preferring to work more long-term despite the competitive marketplace. It also suggests that one of the key barriers to adoption of new tech is training.

‘What these stats say about the UK’s travel managers is that they are resilient and resourceful, they care about their travellers above all. Self-booking tools are the future for most, and it’s apparent that everyone can do with a bit of help when it comes to technology, as long as it’s simple and intuitive.’ Sam Cande, UK Country Manager, Traveldoo

Offering smarter technology solutions for travel booking and expense management, Traveldoo has almost 20 years experience in developing products to make business travellers’ lives easier.