Survey: Suppliers may be influencing non-compliance

75% of suppliers said they have strategies in place to target corporate travellers directly, even with companies for which they are not preferred suppliers. These were the findings of the Corporate Travel Industry survey, presented by the founder of the African Business Travel Association (ABTA) Monique Swart, and ceo of Carlson Wagonlit Travel, Louis van Zyl.

“Buyers are probably seeing a bit of this,” Swart said, “Travellers are coming to their buyers and saying: why don’t we try this brand, why don’t we try this supplier? This may be because they are being targeted directly.”

The survey also found that TMCs tend to overestimate how expensive their services are perceived to be. “Buyers are saying that they are okay with the fees charged by TMCs, but the TMCs say they think their own fees are expensive,” said van Zyl. He said that what buyers are really looking for is not necessarily lower prices, but better value. “It’s all about the value,” van Zyl said. He said the majority of TMCs see low operating margins as a threat to their business, as well the access to competent staff.


Other findings

The survey also showed the disparity between the way travellers and buyers view the company’s travel policy. Swart said that 60% of buyers thought the company’s travel policy was flexible, with 40% saying it was rigid. The travellers, meanwhile, had the opposite response, with only 38% saying the policy was flexible, and 62% saying it was too rigid.

In response to a question from the floor, asking if there should be better communication from the owners of the policy to travellers, to explain why it is the way it is, van Zyl responded:  “What we’re seeing is a lot of travellers trying to stay within policy. The majority said they are booking within the policy,” which suggests that travellers are at least trying to be aware of the policy and understand that sticking to it is important. Van Zyl added, “Maybe they [travellers] need to understand the policy a bit more, so they can see that it’s not as rigid as they may think, or, if it is, that it is rigid for a reason.”

There was also a difference between how buyers, TMCs, and suppliers view the influence of TMCs on traveller decisions. Asked if TMCs influence customer buying decisions, 52% of buyers said yes, and 48% said no. This is contrast to the view from suppliers (71% yes, 29% no), and TMCs (84% yes, 16% no).

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