With global airfares and hotel rates rising, American Express Global Business Travel is emphasizing the carrot -- rather than the stick -- in trying to get road warriors to save money in their travel spending choices for their companies.
In announcing the airfare and hotel rate numbers from its Q1 2012 Business Travel Monitor, the global travel management company essentially advocated the following 5 steps to induce savings and compliance with corporations' managed-travel policies:
1. Reward travelers and use "positive motivators" instead of punishments to encourage booking with preferred suppliers and getting the consequent cost savings, says Christa Degnan Manning, director of the TMC's Expert Insights Research unit;
2. Book at least two weeks in advance for lower airfares and more flexibility;
3. Use preferred suppliers for maximum savings and benefits, such as upgrades;
4. Communicate clearly with business travelers about companies' ancillary fee policies, and
5. Spur "smart buying decisions" with mobile messages when travelers are ready to book.
It's hard to imagine the messaging about ancillary fees and on mobile devices being full of positive vibrations, but who knows.
Perhaps: "Forget the extra legroom and there will be a beer on us next Friday?"
Meanwhile, the Business Travel Monitor found that:
- US domestic airfares increased 6% on average to $261 in Q1 2012 as compared with Q1 2011;
- International airfares jumped 4% on average to $1,933;
- US domestic hotel rates rose 5% on average to $157, and
- Average international room rates climbed 1% to $240.