Motivating employees to care about business travel expenses

Motivating employees to care about business travel expenses

How many times have you had to explain to your colleagues that booking a train the day before departure is not the wisest idea, that a taxi across the

How many times have you had to explain to your colleagues that booking a train the day before departure is not the wisest idea, that a taxi across the city could be avoided by rising slightly earlier or that perhaps they could cut down on their lobster consumption when meeting clients?

You might have some set boundaries along the value of what they can spend – perhaps up to £20 for lunch or a ‘start time’ for breakfast- but where is the incentive to come in ‘under budget’? Rocketrip CEO Dan Ruch explains that corporate travel is a ‘hotbed of inefficiency’ and that the key to saving corporate dollars comes down to “finding out, illuminating and using employee spending habits to incentivize them to save money as they book travel.

Speaking to PYMNTS, Dan continues

“Corporate travel policy is a sub-optimal structure with $1.25 trillion globally every year being spent by companies on flights, hotels, cars and trains, with “no incentive by individuals to save money. Employees are spending someone else’s money — the company’s money and lack the motivation to “sacrifice” for the good of the company since they’re the ones toughing it out on the road on behalf of the company.

“If you want to change behaviour at a macro level you have to be willing to offset the cost of what we are actually going to give up … and it turns out that financial incentives are a tremendously powerful motivator of human behaviour,” Ruch said.

Thus, corporate travel managers have to make it worth an employee’s while to switch behaviours.

Ruch said that his own firm, Rocketrip, has created a platform that offers up employee rewards for saving the company money by giving 50 percent of travel savings back to them, with the other 50 percent accruing to the company. The platform intersects with the technology used by client companies to manage travel, their corporate policies (including negotiated programs in place with certain vendors) and “a budget to beat” that comes out of historical data provided by the client. The budget to beat, said Ruch, “is a prediction of what an employee would have spent on that trip had there been no incentive to save, in other words, status quo.”

Employees can tailor a trip to come in under that threshold and save money by staying in cheaper hotels (or even with friends) or flying economy.

Upon being reimbursed at the end of a trip (with, again, half of savings accrued), employees rewards include points, which have dollar for dollar value that can be redeemed for things available as part of the Rocketrip platform, perhaps an Amazon Kindle or vacations.

Ruch said that where the platform is being used, more than half of the time employees do change their behavior, even in the subtlest of ways, such as booking a trip well in advance, resulting in cost savings. Subtle changes have big rewards here, resulting in cost savings of between 20 percent to 30 percent, which is good news for both the company and the employee in the long run.

In the end, said Ruch, it’s about employees becoming “enthusiastic participants in driving cost sensitivities throughout the organization … they want to do it because there is something in it for them.”

 

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