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New Research: Business Travelers Need Better Service

April 11, 2023
By Andrew Sheivachman
Categories Travel Management

Travel management companies (TMCs) and online booking tools (OBTs) are crucial to every well-run travel program. Travel managers, though, are largely unhappy with the solutions provided by their existing partners.

Spotnana partnered with the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) to explore the pain points travel managers face as they work to improve their travel programs. GBTA polled 151 U.S.-based travel managers for insight into the challenges they face improving their travel program in 2023.

Here are the top three trends defining TMCs and OBTs for travel managers in 2023. You can download the free report here.

TMC wait times are longer than ever before

Since the pandemic began in 2020, two major forces have defined business travel service. Flight disruptions and cancellations became more frequent, while TMCs have been tasked to respond to more traveler queries with fewer travel agents.

The resulting decline in service has made life difficult for travel managers. More than two-in-three travel managers (69%) say wait times are now longer for their travelers than before the pandemic, with 37% saying wait times are now much longer than pre-pandemic.

As a result, travel managers are having to manually resolve problems for travelers. More than two-in-three travel managers (72%) say they are spending more time on communicating with travelers than before the pandemic. Traveler communications now represent the task which most travel managers are spending more time on compared to the pre-pandemic period.

TMCs have service and data limitations

The partnership between travel managers and their primary TMC is crucial for any travel program. Yet, 38% of travel managers are dissatisfied with or feel neutral toward their primary TMC.

What do travel managers need from their TMC partners to build robust programs and provide better experiences to their travelers? It starts with service. Nearly half (48%) of travel managers said TMC agents and servicing is a major pain point, the most commonly reported pain point for TMCs overall. TMC agents and servicing is followed by data analysis and customization as the top issues travel managers have with their TMC.

In the post-pandemic era, travel managers need TMC partnerships that provide strong service for travelers, robust analytics, and the ability to build a custom travel program that really fits their company’s needs.

OBTs need to provide better traveler experiences

The issues that travel managers have with their OBTs, as well, reflect issues with servicing for a modern travel program. More than half of travel managers (55%) are dissatisfied with or neutral toward their primary OBT.

The main issues that travel managers have with OBTs reflect the challenges they face with their TMC, as well. Nearly half (49%) say the end-user and traveler experience is a problem, representing the most frequent pain point for travel managers. This ties into the limitations that TMCs have servicing travelers when they need help. Managing changes or cancellations (47%), as well, is the next most experienced pain point.

Finally, travel managers report an innovation gap with their OBT, as 41% selected the development of new features as a major issue they face.

Spotnana’s Travel-as-a-Service Platform provides unparalleled travel experiences and a suite of next-generation tools that make life easier for travel managers. To learn more about how travel managers are adapting their programs to succeed in 2023, download the full research report or get a demo of Spotnana today.