Not only is ensuring the safety of traveling employees a key concern, the Barometer also shows that 35% of respondents consider an organizations' travel program a key business driver and point of differentiation as an employer - an increase of 16% from 2015. As competition for talent in China continues to increase, the trend of leveraging better employee travel schemes for the purpose of retention and recruitment is expected to increase.
The Barometer demonstrates a significant year-on-year increase in enterprises achieving compliance with travel policies as a result of better business travel management. Among the interviewed enterprises in the 2016 Barometer, 75% achieved travel policy compliance at a rate of more than 50% - a significant increase from 53% in 2015.
In 2015, there was a considerable movement away from the practice of using multiple travel management companies (TMCs) or agencies. There has been no further significant year-on-year change when it comes to using multiple TMCs, however, nearly 59% of multi-agency users surveyed are considering pursuing a consolidation to fewer agencies to either optimize cost or simplify processes. This further supports the trend over the past few years among local and multinational companies based in China to simplify the operational aspects of their travel management programs, in recognition of the benefits that economies-of-scale can bring, and the disadvantages of resource duplication. The top three reasons cited by organizations choosing to work with one external travel management service provider, were: 'high-quality customer service', 'competitive pricing' and 'improved control of travelers behavior and duty of care".
The Barometer also indicates an increased focus on financial reporting and controls being put into place. Firms obtaining business travel expense reports through business travel management companies and cost management systems account for 50% of those surveyed, an increase from 43% in 2015. As companies are experiencing better management of travel expenses with the use of business travel management services, it is expected more companies will choose these services in the future.
Fifty-three percent (53%) of organizations surveyed undertook projects involving enhancement of their travel technologies solutions during the last 12 months, indicating a continued desire to search for and employ new technologies to improve the business travel programs and provide a better experience for their travelers.
"Regardless of economic cycles, experienced business leaders are seeking new revenue opportunities and business travel goes hand-in-hand with these. However, it is important that an organization's managed travel program is designed and executed with overall business objectives and efficiencies in mind. Further, an employee's safety, productivity and wellbeing are integral to business success, and travel policies can make a significant difference in attracting, retaining and motivating them. Enterprises should invest in knowledge and innovation, and fully leverage the expertise of TMCs, to benefit their overall business travel program," said Pellizzer.