How to stop rogue bookers?  Gamification in the travel industry

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Business Travel Gamification

How to stop rogue bookers? Gamification in the travel industry

Many of our clients often ask us “How do I stop the rogue bookers who consistently book out with our travel policy?” One answer is Gamification. 

Gamification is a modern way of tapping into the basic desires and needs of the user’s impulses which revolve around the idea of Status, Achievement and Reward. The oldest example of gamification are Frequent Flyer Programs that airline companies offer as a part of their customer loyalty programs.

The research company Gartner predicts that by end of 2015, a Gamified service for consumer goods marketing and customer retention will become as important as Facebook, eBay, or Amazon, and more than 70% of Global 2000 organizations will have at least one Gamified application.

Businesses can use Gamification to drive desired user behaviours that are advantageous to their travel program.  In a successful travel management program, gamification goes beyond compliance. It’s about engaging travellers with your travel program with game design techniques to engage, motivate and reward employees to make cost saving decisions when booking business travel, opting not to book outside your travel policy.  

Tech savvy employees such as Generation X and Millennials who now make up more than half today’s workforce demand greater influence on travel decisions. They have grown up in an age of APPs, low cost airlines, premier inn’s etc. and part of the Gamification process encourages them to save money by using the “APP” brands e.g. Uber.  When booking business travel using Gamification, employees will have the feeling of being in control of their travel, which they like, and the company is saving money, which suits the finance people.

Online booking tools from your TMC (like Concur Travel), means there is no loss of data capture for the corporation and the TMC can still manage the travel programme.  And while Gamification is seen to be a trait of the young… more mature travellers can be easily convinced.  Things like BA’s Executive Club programme, show that loyalty can be won from travellers of any age, if the rewards are deemed to be “worthwhile”.

So is Gamification suitable for our organisation?  As with all debates, this school of thought is at one end of the scale, while the other end of the scale is summed up in the immortal words of Nike with a “Just Do it” approach.

More conventional travel managers are of the opinion that everyone should follow a travel policy, once it’s been written, and why should travellers be incentivised to do what the company wants them to do when ultimately the company is paying the bill for all of the travellers expenses.

A travel policy that, once written, continues to evolves negates the extreme opinions on both ends of the scale.  A modern day travel policy should appeal to millennial travellers and the more seasoned travellers. Using a combination of online booking applications and agent assist services can please both schools of thought and ensure adherence to the travel policy which in turn can drive down ticket costs and agency service fee costs.

Win win…
Franc Jeffrey
CEO – EQ Travel Management