Not to be confused with the traditional “R&R” rest and relaxation; corporate travel has come to adopt the “Recommend or Require” approach to travel policy. Travel managers have gone to great lengths to vet, source and implement preferred airlines, hotels, car rental providers and the like. The amount of time required to support an air or hotel program can be extensive, but the savings garnered from these programs is significant. In fact, the savings from a negotiated air or hotel program is often driving the largest percentage of savings in a managed travel program.

After the hard work is completed, it is left to travel policy to then influence traveler behavior so that these savings can be realized. Are your travelers actively participating and ensuring your negotiated discounts are utilized? That is where recommend or require comes into play.

Typically a company’s travel policy will read like a who’s who of suppliers that made the cut.  One key decision point to think through is if you will recommend or require participation from your travelers in booking preferred carriers.  Whether a program just recommends travel options, or takes a more firm stand and requires them, it often depends on company culture. Some companies would prefer to recommend which options a traveler should select, but allow for situations where a traveler may select an alternative option. For some companies the savings are significant enough where a require policy is utilized to ensure that should travelers book non-preferred options or through non-preferred channels they will not be reimbursed. It is up to you and your team to think through which is the best fit for your program.

At the end of the day, when it comes to air there are five reasons that drive corporate traveler behavior.  Knowing and understanding which of these factors is driving traveler behavior can be a huge help in tailoring your travel policy and air program for maximum success.

  1. Frequent Flyer Program Allegiance
  2. Price
  3. Travel Policy
  4. Flight Times / Frequency
  5. Convenience

Are the flight times on your preferred carrier for a certain market contrary to when your travelers want or need to fly? Is a non-preferred carrier frequently priced well below your negotiated rate with a partner carrier? Are connection times for your preferred carrier not convenient for your travelers? These and many other questions can help you gain a greater understanding of why travelers are booking the way they are, and what type approach you should have in your negotiated air program and travel policy. 

Check out our latest Prism Avion poll question and let us know what factors most into your air booking behavior. Then, check out the results of the poll to see what your peers think.