Corporate travel agencies are at the sharp end of the changes in travel behaviour as options widen and digital connections deepen.
In particular, is how companies - large and small - are having to adapt (or not) their existing travel policies to cater for the apparent new freedoms that employees want when they search, book and even experience a trip.
Global corporate agency Egencia asked 6,000 of its travellers in 12 countries about whether they have desire to travel differently and, in response, what they might be experiencing in terms of changes made to their travel policy.
One of the top-line findings from the Expedia Inc-owned company's survey was that only 38% felt that their existing travel policy met their needs.
For example, 21% say that their business travel requests are often denied, with travellers in the US and India featuring the highest in the country list at 31% and 29% respectively.
Egencia says travel managers need to give their policies a new look if staff are going to - or want to - book their favourite hotels or airlines in spite of existing guidance.
"By offering more choices and clearly communicating with travelers about the “why” behind your decisions, you may be able to increase both compliance and traveler satisfaction."
The TMC says it has identified a number of areas where travel managers can become more flexible, or even totally overhaul previous protocols around travel policy.
- Perhaps, simply, managers should widen the options of hotels that are made available to members of staff - breaking out of the traditional chain-wide deal which essentially limit a traveller's options.
- Sharing economy-type products should be embraced, not least because an astonishing 96% of travellers have booked a service whilst on business (perhaps as an add-on) or would consider doing so.
- Simplify travel policy documentation - abandon the 30-page policy statement and make it easier for staff to understand what they can and cannot do (a comment complaint about policies).
- Encourage staff to swap ideas or recommendations about their travel plans or experiences. In particular, some 89% do so unofficially anyway when it comes to accommodation and 82% will for ground transportation.