Expert insight

The benefits for thinking smarter

29 July 2019 by Steve Banks, Director of Business Development

The key to unlocking the next level of savings in any mature travel programme is realising that business travel is about more than getting employees from A to B; it should also meet organisational objectives such as productivity, connectivity, health and wellbeing.

Making the right investment in travel and meetings matters too. It impacts employee satisfaction, productivity and retention - yet many travel policies and tools prioritise savings over traveller satisfaction and convenience. 

Changing mindsets means changing behaviours to achieve the next level of cost savings and enhance travellers’ wellbeing. From challenging unnecessary travel to choosing the right mode of travel, the solution lies in data-led insight into organisational culture, problems, opportunities, who to influence – and how.

Persuading employees to handle the organisation’s assets responsibly and effectively is critically important. By helping them to make better informed decisions around travel and meetings, both the organisation and individual benefit. We call this Smarter working.

Smarter working delivers better traveller health, wellness and safety; increased traveller and company productivity, travel avoidance – and consequently cost savings.

The business case is compelling. Increased use of virtual solutions and meeting alternatives can cut domestic air demand by over 40% and rail demand by over 10%. Hotel programme compliance increases whilst a 5% increase in rail tickets booked more than seven days in advance will reduce the average ticket price by 19%.

But what’s in it for the employee? Why should road warriors and occasional business travellers change the ways they plan, book and travel for business?

It’s all about the people

Research shows that happy employees make good businesses. They improve sales and productivity because happy workers are healthier, so they are absent from work less often. Whilst salaries remain static, employers offer pensions schemes, private medical insurance and flexible or home working, but it’s not enough.

80% of travellers say their business travel experiences impact their overall job satisfaction. Over half of European travellers also say a company's travel programme is an important factor when considering a potential new employer. [Source: GBTA Creating a Frictionless Travel Experience (2018)]

So why should employees buy into the principles of Smarter working – that by changing behaviours both parties benefit? Here are some compelling reasons why everyone wins.

For the employee, Smarter working...

  1. Reassures them that their health and welfare is a major priority for your employer.
  2. Makes them feel safe and secure, even when travelling to remote destinations.
  3. Enables them to feel refreshed, less stressed and more focused on doing their job.
  4. Facilitates a healthier work/life balance.
  5. Embraces healthier eating and regular exercise.
  6. Gives back some of the time normally spent travelling to use on something more enjoyable.
  7. Becomes part of the bigger picture by challenging how the company travels.
  8. Champions smarter travel alternatives like Skype and Webex.
  9. Saves time and avoid delays by receiving travel alerts and practical advice from your travel management company (TMC), even when you’re on the move.
  10. Helps travellers enjoy being part of a wider, happier culture, embracing a modern day attitude to travel, with better awareness and coping mechanisms.

For the organisation, Smarter working… 

  1. Embodies a cultural, inclusive approach from top down.
  2. Allows the organisation to better understand the full implications of travel and how those can be mitigated or maximised.
  3. Improves understanding of how your employees travel and the potential for change will create the visibility to reduce the cost of travel.
  4. Makes the organisation more sustainable and agile by reflecting changes in objectives, culture and a changing workforce.
  5. Makes your workforce more satisfied, motivated and productive. Happier, more engaged and satisfied travellers deliver better work and are less likely to leave the company.
  6. Contributes to other critical success factors e.g. those aspiring to receive best employer recognition.
  7. Enables new recruits to recognise the value the organisation puts on them.
  8. Maximises the value your TMC provides by adopting a holistic, consultative approach.
  9. Allows your TMC to deliver a best in class service based around minimising leakage through non-preferred suppliers and processes.
  10. Delivers competitive advantages against your industry peers.

Ensuring employees health, wellbeing and safety, driving productivity, reducing un-necessary travel and thereby reducing costs are all achievable by combining data analytics with behavioural science to bring out the necessary changes in mind-set and behaviour to achieve the next level of savings.

You can have all of these, but you’ll need specialist expertise from a supplier with the products to translate insights into results. Which is where we come in.

It’s time to take a fresh perspective and look at travel management differently. Let us make your human assets work smarter, not harder. Let Capita Travel and Events take you on this journey.

Interested? Let’s have a chat about your company’s travel, meetings and events objectives - from the stuff that keeps you awake at night, to the everyday experiences of your employees! Call us on 0330 390 0340, or submit your details below.