The Rise of Managed Travel 2.0

Third in a series on Managed Travel 2.0

Creativity is often born from conflict.

For two decades, modern travel management has preached the virtues of travel policy compliance, use of preferred suppliers, and booking through the proper channels.

See GE’s description of its global travel program as Exhibit A.  It’s six sigma production line thinking at its best.  It’s the pursuit of travel program optimization via the logic of travel management.

But that policy-first approach frustrates travelers who have access to plenty of good consumer travel tools, who know the value of their time and their trips, and have no problem staying within their travel budget. For them, it’s all about the art of traveling.

Michael Tangney, Google’s travel program manager, gets credit for pioneering a new approach in 2008. Give travelers a target airfare.  If they book below the target’s cost, put half of the savings in their travel bank for use on future trips.  Let them book wherever they want.  There’s more, but that’s the essence. It was the birth of Managed Travel 2.0.

Three years later, Short’s Travel develops “BookIt”, a tool letting corporate travelers shop anywhere, yet still get corporate discounts and policy advice. Perfect for travel managers wanting to swim with the tide of travelers shopping anywhere anyway.

About the same time, ProcureApp developed a tool to shape rogue traveler shopping and booking behavior.

More recently, Concur and KDS announced plans to capture rogue booking data with Open Booking and Maverick, respectively.  GDSX follows suit with its announcement of TripLink, a tool designed to make rogue bookings available for service by the corporate TMC.

And for those wanting to emulate Google’s  approach, Runzheimer developed SmartTrip. Set a trip’s budget for air, hotel, car and meals, and split the savings how you wish.

So the conflict cannot be about wanting to try Managed Travel 2.0 but not having the tools. They exist, although in early form.  The real conflict is the debate about what Managed Travel 2.0 really is, and what it means to our industry.

Up next: Key Principles of Managed Travel 2.0    Previous posts in this series:

  1. Why Traveler Friction Matters
  2. The Convenient Fiction of Program Optimization

Author’s note: Evan Konwiser contributes significantly to this series.

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6 thoughts on “The Rise of Managed Travel 2.0

  1. Pingback: Key Principles of Managed Travel 2.0 | Gillespie's Guide to Travel+Procurement

  2. Pingback: The Future for Travel Management Companies | Gillespie's Guide to Travel+Procurement

  3. Scott – great work as always provoking strategic debate and discussion. Doing some recent research on managerial behaviour, I studied Mcgregors theory of ‘X and Y’ management approaches. It seems to ,me that travel 2.0 is completing the cycle from approach x (People must be coerced, controlled, directed, or threatened with punishment in order to get them to achieve the organizational objectives) to theory y (Work is as natural as play and rest
    & people will exercise self-direction if they are committed to the objectives).
    Interestingly this research was developed in the 60’s but it just as relevant today!

  4. Good point, Chris – thanks for bringing this debate back to its core issue…How do you best manage people? In this case, people who make travel-related decisions.

    For a modern update to McGregor’s X and Y theory, have a look at Daniel Pink’s book “Drive – The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us”. He describes two types of people, those motivated by extrinsic rewards, and those motivated by intrinsic rewards.

    He believes, and cites supportive research, that the best way is to give people more autonomy, not less, over their decisions. That’s certainly the basic premise of MT 2.0

    Our industry needs to put more emphasis – and insight – into the “managed” part of travel management. “Managed” should equate to “influence” rather than “control”, eh?

    It’s interesting to see Amex and CWT come out with gamification tools. Clearly a nod in this direction, but will it be enough?

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