Saturday, November 03, 2012

How Mobile Device Apps Disrupt Corp Travel Policy


To what degree are business travelers using mobile device technology? What types of mobile offerings disrupt legacy corporate travel policies, and in what ways? How frequently are guidelines for mobile usage communicated? These were the key questions that eMarketer considered during their latest assessment.

Granted, mobile devices have enabled more productive business travel, allowing people to stay in touch and adapt to changing schedule needs -- among the many other apparent benefits.

The same devices can also create challenges for typical corporate travel managers trying to contain their organization's expenses. According to a new eMarketer study, many travel managers are therefore evolving their travel policies to address the current environment.

Moreover, according to an AirPlus International study during 2012, 95 percent of travel managers worldwide said they were either making policies more stringent or keeping them the same going forward.

Managed corporate travel is a unique marketplace because its buyers are not the same as its consumers -- and those groups often have needs that are at odds with each other.

Travel marketers are focused on creating mobile apps and solutions for the end user, versus for someone managing bulk corporate travel planning activities. That user adoption is growing. And, they're gaining lots of new app subscribers.

Business travelers continue to access a multitude of travel information. According to Google and Ipsos MediaCT’s August 2012 study, 57 percent of American business travelers reported using mobile devices to access travel information this year, compared to just 38 percent of U.S. leisure travelers.

These tools give travel managers the opportunity to connect with their employees. At the same time, more devices means an increasing likelihood that business travelers will be free to use the best-fit solutions, such as last-minute booking apps.

The main reason travelers give for engaging in activities contrary to corporate policy is lack of awareness of company guidelines -- if they exist at all.

In fact, few travel managers define the use of mobile bookings. According to a GBTA Foundation study, only 18 percent of travel professionals worldwide had integrated information designed to educate travelers on travel policy into mobile booking tools.

Since mobile policy creation and compliance is predicated on communication between corporate travel managers and their company employees, savvy marketers that develop solutions addressing the needs of both sides will likely have an advantage.

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