Aug 31, 2023


August 31, 2023

In the cut-throat world of corporate travel, the old debate between travel as a commodity versus an experience has become increasingly relevant. For years, companies viewed corporate travel as just another procurement commodity: an expense to be minimised at all costs. However, in the current labour market, where businesses are struggling to attract and retain talent, offering positive travel experiences can serve as a valuable tool to boost employee satisfaction and retention. Concurrently, with the rise of experience-driven travel, this mindset is shifting as more businesses recognise the importance of providing their employees with positive travel experiences.

Corporate travel management companies (TMCs) are leading the way in this shift, going beyond just booking flights and hotels to provide bespoke itineraries that cater to the individual preferences of their clients. This includes everything from arranging ground transportation and visa requirements to booking preferred airlines and hotels with preferences such as special meals or quieter rooms. TMCs are utilising technology to personalise travel arrangements and make the experience as seamless as possible.

But it’s not just about providing a better travel experience simply for the love of Travel. It’s also about increasing retention and job satisfaction. Ultimately a happier corporate traveller is also a more positive and productive worker. According to a 2022 study by the GBTA Foundation, 79% of North American business travellers reported that travel impacts their overall job satisfaction at least somewhat (even higher at 88% among Millennials in North America and Europe). And while the Procurement department may not realise it, the Finance and Management teams are well aware of the cost of employee turnover.

The same study identified that for most new hire candidates, the company’s Travel Policy played a significant part in their decision making. For two thirds of candidates in the Americas and up to 81% of candidates in India, the Travel Policy of a business influenced whether they take a job at all. This has a phenomenal impact on the recruitment process.

And let’s not forget the ROI on business results and productivity. Last year’s study found that 81% to 96% of travellers around the globe (depending on the country), say the quality of their business travel experience impacts their business results at least somewhat. By prioritising the experience of their clients, TMCs are able to provide greater value and improve the overall travel experience, job satisfaction, corporate employee retention, and improved business results. Now that’s a bit of TMC magic right there worth investing in.

One way TMCs are achieving this is by focusing on duty of care. With increased concern for traveller safety and wellbeing, TMCs are providing 24/7 support, real-time alerts, and risk management services (like SafeToGo® by Magnatech®) to ensure that travellers are prepared for any potential issues that may arise during their journey.

But that’s not all. TMCs are also offering VIP services that can be shaped by the company and embedded in the travel policy as well. TMCs can also offer destination tips and recommendations that might include local customs, local experiences, or unique cultural opportunities (see our #FunFestivalFriday posts on LinkedIn for some examples). This is harder to achieve through an OBT, but booking offline with TMCs allows higher servicing and memorable experiences that go beyond the typical business trip.

And while cost will always be a factor in corporate travel, TMCs and their corporate clients are recognising that there is more to the equation than just finding the cheapest option. By delivering tailored, personalised travel arrangements with sound travel management policies and procedures, TMCs are able to provide greater value to their clients and improve the overall travel experience.

Tim Lane, CEO of Travel Beyond Group and client of Magnatech, articulates, “Experience isn’t just a luxury; it’s the secret ingredient that transforms ordinary business travel into extraordinary opportunities. When we prioritise creating memorable experiences for our clients, we not only enhance their satisfaction but also unlock untapped potential, driving remarkable outcomes in their professional lives. It’s a paradigm shift from viewing travel as a mere commodity to recognising its true value as a strategic investment.”

To sum up, the rise of experience-driven corporate travel is not just about making business travel more enjoyable. It’s also about increasing productivity, job satisfaction, and overall employee wellbeing. With TMCs at the forefront of this shift, businesses can rest assured that their employees are receiving the best possible travel experience, from start to finish.