Corporate travel buyers facing issues in mobile

An interesting survey from Business Travel News highlights the lack of comprehensive policies for the use of mobile within corporate travel. Of 248 respondents to the survey, only a quarter of travel buyers and managers have yet implemented a mobile policy, although an additional 57% plan to in the future.

The growth in mobile travel apps and the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) phenomenon – where more employees are using their own mobile devices for corporate activity – had led to a blurring of the lines between IT departments and corporate travel managers about who is responsible for what.

Most large companies have a travel policy. This sets out who can travel, when and at what cost. Many travel policies state which class of airline ticket an employee can buy and the distance that need to be completed to upgrade (for example) to business class. All very well and simple in theory, but what about in practice?

Access to travel apps give business people the ability to ‘DIY’ their travel plans. For example business people might see a better offer in a ‘snap sale’ on their mobile app than is available from a corporate travel office. For travel managers, this causes a headache. What if the deal is with a competing airline to the corporate choice? What if the reseller goes bust between booking and travel? How is the flight expensed and re-charged to travel? Little wonder that so many corporate travel officers are looking to implement a mobile policy.

Of course a very real additional issue comes around roaming costs and charges. Should employees be able to use their phone abroad? What for: voice, data or both? What is the cost of having an unproductive employee against the costs of data roaming or in hotel Wi-Fi? All these issues need to be addressed by the travel teams.

One of the drivers behind the Goodspeed product was to remove the doubt and confusion associated with roaming costs, which can vary wildly from country to country or even from network to network. Our philosophy is simple: one easy to understand and great value cost per day for more than the amount of data any user is likely to consume doing business. Mobile phone should make business life simpler. Corporate travel offices will need to think hard about how they deal with the increasing reliance of business people on their mobile, home and abroad, but Goodspeed can at least help resolve the hidden costs of keeping in touch.

-Hanne @Uros