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Perspective on industrys-shaping developments
Managing connectivity ‘next big thing’ in travel management | October 2012
While ground transportation and meetings and events are frequently regarded as areas of significant untapped opportunity in managed travel, another area exists that is totally unconsidered by many organizations today, despite the fact that in some cases it represents millions of dollars of spend. This area encompasses any costs associated with keeping travelers connected while they’re on the road for business, which the CWT Solutions Group defines as “ connectivity.” Below, the CWT Solutions Group’s Connectivity Solutions experts shed some light on what they believe to be the most significant "next big thing" in managed travel.
Many organizations centrally manage mobile devices provided to employees, but few consider connectivity from a holistic perspective, which also includes internet access in its many forms (in airport, in flight, in hotel, or via smart phones and tablets directly), calling cards, etc. Travel buyers typically do not understand how much money their travelers spend to stay connected in these ways, and therefore potentially are not leveraging their total volume for optimal pricing and service from these providers, and also are not influencing travelers to purchase in accordance with the organization’s best interests.
Significant opportunity exists for organizations to apply many of the best practices from other
parts of travel to create a managed connectivity program, from establishing policy to sourcing with
suppliers and optimizing the program ongoing. Further, tackling this area provides travel buyers an
opportunity to work outside the typical parameters of the travel program and partner with other
departments, such as information technology, to demonstrate innovative thinking and the ability to
drive significant incremental savings from the travel program even as most other travel costs are
increasing. Finally, traveler stress can be reduced by ensuring effective connectivity methods are
in place during travel, to enable employees to maintain their personal lives when away from home.
In fact, a 2011 CWT study of Australian business travelers found they ranked “ability to stay in
touch with family and friends” as the second-highest benefit of connectivity when on the road. In
addition, a more recent CWT study conducted in 2012 that examined the stress triggers of 6,000
business travelers around the world found that “poor/no internet connection” was the second highest
stress factor for travelers.
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