Social media may be driving corporate travel product suppliers to change their ways of marketing and connecting with their customers, and companies to control their travel expenses.
At the recent 2012 Advantage Conference that took place in Malta, a senior travel buyer has highlighted that companies’ travel policies are currently undergoing several transformations, and will change even faster in the next two years, influenced by the Internet, mobile applications and other social media.
Carel Aucamp, the global sourcing manager for procurement network organisation, Agrega, said, ‘There will be one billion smart phones in use by 2015, and the apps industry will be worth $55 billion by then. Controlling the use of apps by our travellers in 135 countries is impossible. But you still need duty of care.’
Companies’ new travel policies are set to offer incentives to travellers for compliance, by offering discounts, like the insurance industry; as well as by offering loyalty points and a level up, like the airline industry; to nudge them in the right direction. Social media will allow the companies to assess the travel preferences of the employees, and to formulate policies accordingly.
Aucamp said, ‘Awarding travellers points, in competition with each other, for using preferred suppliers and booking within policy, creates a different conversation around the water cooler. You can regularly publish the top 10 travellers, and small rewards – maybe they get five minutes with the CEO. You’re asking travellers to be intelligent, and they’re choosing to take responsibility and do the right thing.’