Digitization and demographic change have significant consequences on consumer behavior. In modern travel management this is reflected in traveler centricity.
Interview with Werner Reinartz, Professor of Retailing and Customer Management at the University of Cologne
The modern day's everyday life goes from buying tickets to a distributor automatic, self-service check-in at airport terminals and self-service breakfast at the hotel. Is there a pitfall? When the customer knows a new tool perfectly, for example how to use an app or software, he will never need a personal relationship with the company that provides the service. "Today's consumer is a loyal customer, but only if everything works perfectly, when something is no longer good for him, he goes away quickly."
Professor Reinartz leakage is perhaps nothing but a loss loyalty from a business traveler who organize his travels alone?
If the Travel Policy becomes too binding, then the system will look for a shortcut, it will regulate itself. This means that any effort by travel management to "excessively" limit the freedom of its client or traveler, with the help of the system, is useless if the customer's decisive needs are not met.
At the moment we are discussing much of the so-called traveler centricity in travel management, a principle that focuses on the needs of travelers.
This is a global trend favored by three factors emerging at the same time:
- the digital transformation,
- the different demographic composition of consumers and
- the pressing mutation of values such as the dominance of the individuality due to the possibility of obtaining information, comparing prices and so on.
Every intermediary, whether a seller or a travel manager, places this principle in front of the fundamental question, if the advantages for the client can compensate its disadvantages
If we consider travelers as consumers-workers of travel management, what is the importance of "co-decision making"?
Let's take the example of Google. Google works with extreme dynamism and always tries to find the way to really satisfy its employees. For the company this is a game of constant balance between efficiency, costs and variety of the offer. I always have to keep a balance between these variables. Besides all this, a certain transparency is also needed. It is necessary to explain to your employees the reason for the existence of some rules. It is a cost-benefit evaluation that always takes into account the value, the trade-off between costs (price and time) on the one hand and the benefit on the other. In short, travel management must ask: Where can I generate added value for my clients? "
What added value can you get?
First of all, the question: what is the advantage for a company if its employees have to book travel alone? The most obvious answer is: cost savings. Because the whole organization no longer has to go through a travel agency or because booking through a certain software is considerably more efficient for various reasons.
And where is the added value for the employee?
If a customer check-in sees a queue at the counter and there is only one employee, this is already grounds for inhibition for the employee. At that point he starts to look around to see if there is an automatic terminal. Or an app. However, the consumer must first download the app and learn how to use it. This represents a kind of investment, something like fixed costs or learning costs. Once the system is learned, everything is much faster. That is, the individual variable costs for each successive use of the app are considerably lower.
But let's go back to the topic of leakage. The discussions related to traveler centricity all point to the direction you described: how can I satisfy my travelers permanently so that they always comply with my travel rules? Some companies rely on loyalty programs, others on direct communication. Is there a "right" road?
When it comes to compliance, the question is always, how can we improve motivation? Extrinsic motivation represents the punishment or, as with loyalty programs, the reward which can in turn influence behavior. The intrinsic motivation represents the motivation of the employee: he is satisfied because he benefits from the added value that can be a sufficient choice between car sharing or taxi. The intrinsic motivation is naturally the most enduring.
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