12 December 2022, etc.venues Monument, London
Business Travel Show Europe, presented by The BTN
21 November, London Hilton Metropole
Travel buyers need to tailor their communications to different types of travellers to successfully influence or “nudge” their booking behaviour.
During a panel session on how to “encourage travellers to choose smarter behaviour” at the Business Travel Show in London, there was agreement that messages should be varied for different types of traveller, instead of using “blanket” communication for an entire organisation.
Communications sent to frequent road warriors should be different to the occasional traveller or new employee who are likely to be less familiar with the organisation’s travel programme and policy.
Mark Cuschieri, global travel lead at Swiss bank UBS, said he considered himself to be an “internal marketeer” who was trying to “get people to do the right thing”.
Cuschieri added his department had been trying to “better understand travellers and their experiences” over the last year.
“When people are booking off-channel, we will go to them,” he said. “Historically we would have gone to them with a stick but now we ask why. Nine times out of ten they will say they just didn’t know. Our tone of voice has changed and we have far more empathy with travellers today.”
Trevor Elswood (pictured), chief commercial officer for Capita Travel and Events, added: “Road warriors perform really well for per-trip expenditure. But newcomers and infrequent travellers have some of the highest costs. You need different messages for these groups.”
Elswood said there needed to be “smarter organisational behaviour” which also took into account the revenue and productivity generated by travel and not just the cost of the trip.
He highlighted cutting the amount of face-to-face internal meetings as an effective way for UK firms to reduce travel spending.
“There are people who habitually hold internal monthly meetings but if you just change it to six weeks, you can reduce your budget by 20 per cent,” he said. “It’s about having a different way of thinking and technology can help you to do this.”
Chris Baker, managing director EMEA for SAP Concur, advised buyers to look at the behaviour and data from “experienced road warriors” to gain more insight, which could then be used to talk to other types of travellers.
Behavioural science expert Steve Martin, director of Influence at Work, added that it was important to “identify the mindset” of different groups of travellers to ensure they were “receptive” to communication from the travel department.
“People are not walking around thinking about travel,” he said. “Their receptivity depends on their persona – you need to be using the digital message that’s most likely to influence that person.”