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Travel managers could see their travel policy destroyed if they do not get control of their travellers’ use of apps.
The warning came today from IT expert Stefan Wagner, ceo of the Frankfurt-based company mvolution.
He was speaking in a session on “Getting to grips with the mobile” at the Business Travel Market in London. This advised travel managers to adopt a mobile strategy to deal with the rise in the use of iphones and travel apps by travellers which some believe could undermine compliance to travel policy.
Wagner said travel managers had four options in creating a mobile strategy.
The first, creating a company’s own mobile app, would give a travel manager control of all content and processes but was very expensive, costing up to$50,000.
The second was using a customisable standard solution where recommended apps could be built in. There were “plenty” in the market, Wagner said and it was less expensive that option one. But the price would rise the more apps were installed. This was the recommended option.
Thirdly, travel managers could develop a set of apps suitable for their travellers. There were already list of “suitable” apps for business travellers available which were not expensive to adopt.
The fourth option Wagner said was to do nothing which in the long run could work out to be more expensive than the first choice.
Tony D’Astolfo, Rearden Commerce’s senior vp for travel services, said companies which had adopted mobile strategies reported that the number of calls to their TMCs had fallen, in one case by 40%, so saving the company money.
He advised travel managers to look for solutions which supported all the main mobile platforms like Apple and Blackberry, to choose apps which were “rich, reliable and robust”, and to understand what the benefits and drawbacks to the strategy could be.
He said smart phones should not be regarded as toys but as productivity tools. “You can use these devices to enforce your programmes and drive more compliance,” he said.