As large businesses are allowing employees to book their own travel and accommodation more and more, traveller empowerment is no longer just a hot topic. It seems that employers are more willing to provide an element of flexibility in their travel policy, as long as the supplier is safe, reputable and the trip is in budget. Scott Gillespie, in Travel Management 2.0, suggests that this may be due to a “strategic shift” as opposed to a “shifting trend” in the “culture of control”. Assignees are seemingly receiving a lack of favourable options from travel management companies and more businesses are allowing employees to look beyond travel policy.
Relocation can be hard enough for the traveller without having to worry if their accommodation is going to live up to their expectations. They must put their trust into the hands of the experts and believe that the service they’re receiving is in their best interests. Serviced apartment providers allow the traveller to browse properties, identify the perfect location and supply specific apartment details. This may include multiple bedroom options if an employee is relocating with their family; certain facilities that don’t come with every property, such as a gym and a pool; and a guaranteed length of stay in an apartment of their choice.
The experience of the user is ultimately what’s going to drive brand loyalty to service apartment providers. As businesses encourage more employees to loosen the shackles of travel policies, user experience is only going to benefit. The traveller will no longer be presented with a set “one size fits all” travel/relocation package that doesn’t completely meet every facet of their needs. The days when travel management companies could only propose limited options because they’re available to book online, and contractually favourable, are over. Traveller empowerment may force TMCs to offer a much wider choice and flexibility or they may see customers go direct to suppliers.
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