GBTA+FCM report: the evolution of travel programme technology
09/13/2022|7:46:23 PM|GBTA+FCM

As the world starts to climb out from the pandemic and resume more routine norms in terms of work, companies and offices are opening and employees have begun to return to business travel. But as the business travel industry recovers, headwinds such as inflation, COVID-19 infection spikes, and lockdowns are impacting the global economy, which in turn impacts the industry. Yet despite these headwinds, companies are moving forward to strengthen their travel programs to include changing or updating travel policies, assessing technology needs after, and revisiting suppliers (including travel management companies or TMCs).

Technology is the most important factor when travel managers select a TMC, ahead of costs/ fees, account management quality, and support. Three in five (59%) travel managers include technology as one of the most important factors when selecting a TMC. However, 2 in 5 respondents (42%) include technology as one of the top pain points of their primary TMC. 

Almost all travel programs (96%) use an online booking tool (OBT), and as such, is the most popular technology component of a travel program. However, other technology solutions are less frequent including reporting dashboards, TMC mobile apps, re-shopping tools, and single-use virtual payments to name a few. This suggests many travel managers might largely associate travel technology almost exclusively with OBTs and thus, might be unaware of other solutions that can create efficiencies and streamline travel program components.

Few travel programs use their online booking tool to promote sustainability. Fewer than half say their OBT shows carbon emissions in search results (44%) or displays lower emission flights higher in search results (10%), provides sustainability messaging (4%) or is configured to exclude less sustainable options from search results (2%). However, a decent number of travel managers are interested in configuring their OBT to do these things. These practices will likely become more common as sustainability concerns grow, OBTs design relevant key features and travel managers learn more about them. 

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