Full integration of travel management process still not yet a reality: ACTE, AMEX GBT study

Businesses can achieve integrated travel programmes, but collaboration with all stakeholders is required

End-to-end travel management has been a goal for corporate travel buyers, but a new study published by Association of Corporate Travel Executives (ACTE) in collaboration with American Express Global Business Travel (AMEX GBT), revealed that only 72% say their programmes are somewhat integrated.

According to The Journey to Integrated Travel Management report, this is due to several factors ranging from evolving technology to obtaining support from relevant stakeholders in the organisation.

Businesses can achieve integrated travel programmes, but collaboration with all stakeholders is required

Almost a quarter (22%) of travel managers have no further plans to integrate. These respondents identify a number of barriers to progress, including lack of resources (25%), and a perceived lack of internal and stakeholder support (30%).

Business travellers pose the biggest challenge to integration, with 37% of respondents reporting traveller adoption and unwillingness to change as their top barrier – despite the fact that travellers are also one of the main drivers for end-to-end integration, cited by more than a third (34%) of respondents.

The study found that internal stakeholders in procurement (53%) and finance (45%) are top drivers of change, with business travellers just behind. As such, travel buyers are urged to secure buy-in from these stakeholder groups.

The complexity of end-to-end integration demands not only internal advocacy, but support from all partners in the travel workflow, advised the study.

Travel managers say technology platform providers (62%), travel management companies (59%), payment providers (39%), and suppliers (33%) are instrumental in helping them achieve integration.

Underlining the importance of an integrated travel programme, Leigh Bochicchio, executive director of ACTE, said: “The corporate travel manager’s core mission is to set up business travellers for success – and integration efforts are key to creating these conditions. Having to navigate a constellation of tools and technology to plan a trip can hinder productivity for travellers.”

Bruno Murray, vice president at AMEX GBT, added: “With advances in technology and services, a truly integrated travel and expense management ecosystem is achievable, delivering a better user experience, and efficiencies and control to buyers and their organisations. Barriers to integration can be overcome with the right technologies and change management expertise – and I encourage all travel buyers to challenge their TMCs to deliver on this.”

The full report also offers offers advice on change management and getting the support and buy-in from various stakeholders and partners.

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