Travelers and travel managers expect corporate travel bookings made via mobile to double in the next two years. In response to this trend, 80 percent of travel managers are expected to implement a mobile policy by 2016, compared with only 29 percent today.
To support organizations in the creation of their mobile policy, CWT’s Travel Management Institute published Tap into mobile service: Managed travel in the digital economy. We surveyed more than 160 travel managers globally and conducted traveler surveys and in-depth interviews with industry experts to explore how quickly travelers are adopting mobile travel apps, and how their expectations are being met.
Based on those results, here are the eight key steps to follow to successfully manage mobile in your travel program.
Know your objectives and your travelers’ needs. Are you looking to achieve compliance? Traveler satisfaction? Once you’ve defined your objectives, be sure to implement a solution that fits with your company’s culture e.g., does the solution need to work on tablets and smartphones? Knowing the answers will help bring success.
Define approved apps to avoid program leakage. Managed travel apps are specifically designed to support corporate travel programs. They are a company’s best bet to keep travelers booking within policy when on the go; rather than booking directly through supplier apps.
Seek the right external partners. Introducing tools from a current partner – such as your travel management company or consulting company – that support your company’s existing technology platforms often enables easier rollout and integration of features into a limited number of apps.
Avoid app overload. Recommending apps that combine a variety of functionalities can help to avoid app overload. CWT To Go™ is a complimentary app for CWT travelers that provides access to profile information, itineraries, flight alerts and mobile check-in. Booking and other capabilities coming soon.
Educate, don’t mandate. Increasingly the role of travel manager is shifting from coercing travelers to comply, to educating about policy (and how to follow it correctly). Regular communication on your company’s policy is crucial. CWT Program Messenger sends targeted messages directly to travelers to advise on best practice.
Keep up a two-way dialogue to meet demand. New apps and features are coming onto the market constantly. You might want to conduct a formal survey of traveler needs, and also encourage ad hoc feedback through your corporate social network.
Work with IT experts on security issues. When it comes to mobile devices and services, data security is crucial. Engage your IT department to ensure the right protection is in place and define sensible precautions.
Get buy-in from other departments. Travel managers can play a strong advisory role in the company’s policy on mobile devices. However, only 1 percent of mobile device programs are handled by travel management teams alone.
If poorly handled, mobile technology can provide travelers with routes away from travel policy. Properly handled it can give them information not only on where to stay and how to get there, but also on how and why they can best comply with company policy. It really can be a win for all involved.