Cost control has long been the top priority of companies that travel, but that was no longer the case in 2015. Results from Global Business Travel’s 2015 EVP Barometer found that safety and security have risen to the top of the list, followed by cost control and employee satisfaction. Other interesting tidbits from the annual report include a greater-than-anticipated travel spending increase in 2015 and compelling trends for 2016.
2015 Priority List
Safety and security have been climbing the priority list over the past five, finally making it to the top for 2015. A notable 96 percent of companies surveyed for the Barometer have implemented some type of follow-up and tracking as part of their safety procedures. Only 24 percent, however, report providing training to their travelers.
Cost control fell from the top priority to second place, with 52 percent of surveyed companies reporting they still have work to do in the area. A full 50 percent of respondents have already taken efforts to improve processes, such as:
- More detailed evaluation of the cost and importance of business trips prior to booking
- Implementation of online tools
- Taking advantage of payment and expense management software
Airfare costs accounted for 40 percent of the average corporate travel expenditure, while hotel stays accounted for 28 percent. Hotel accommodations were also cited as key area of focus for the upcoming year for 59 percent of surveyed companies.
Traveler satisfaction rose to third place on the list, a notable leap from the previous year’s sixth-place ranking. Fifty percent of respondents take the time to measure satisfaction levels of their corporate travelers, and 22 percent use traveler feedback to improve their policies. Travel managers appear to be taking heed of processes and tools that can enhance the travel experience, such as:
- Mobile technologies
- Itinerary management
- Innovative payment or expense reconciliation methods
Travel Spending Increase
Corporate travel spending for 2015 increased by 1.42 percent, more than twice the anticipated rate in the previous year’s Barometer. Much of the increase can be attributed to companies expecting to grow their businesses by expanding overseas.
Fifty percent of respondents aimed for global expansion in 2015, up from 38 percent in 2014. Business travel budgets were expected to increase over the next three years for 33 percent of companies surveyed in 2015, compared to 18 percent in 2014.
However, 76 percent of companies still look at corporate travel as a necessary cost, while only 24 percent view it as an investment. Twenty-one percent said they would like to become more knowledgeable about measuring the ROI of their corporate travel.
Travel spending is expected to continue its rise, with companies predicting a 1 to 3 percent increase in their total travel spending over the next year. Priorities may also be taking another shift, with a focus on:
- 50 percent: Price optimization
- 41 percent: Security solutions
- 41 percent: Reliability of data
- 40 percent: Quality of overall travel program management
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Our choice of Chrome River EXPENSE was made in part due to the very user-friendly interface, easy configurability, and the clear commitment to impactful customer service – all aspects in which Chrome River was the clear winner. While Chrome River is not as large as some of the other vendors we considered, we found that to be a benefit and our due diligence showed that it could support us as well as any large players in the space, along with a personalized level of customer care.
We are excited to be able to enforce much more stringent compliance to our expense guidelines and significantly enhance our expense reporting and analytics. By automating these processes, we will be able to free up AP time formerly spent on manual administrative tasks, and enhance the role by being much more strategic.