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Companies with a strong travel culture have a competitive advantage: New research from Harvard Business Review Analytic Services in association with Egencia
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- More than half of business leaders agreed that having a strong travel culture is very important to their organisations' business performance today

- Companies with a strong travel culture have seen significant improvements in customer loyalty and retention, profitability, market share and employee satisfaction

- Only a third of respondents say their organisation actually has a strong travel culture with the majority admitting it's most often viewed as a cost to be minimised

- Three-quarters of those who have a strong travel culture work with a single travel management company (TMC)

BELLEVUE, Washington, June 18, 2019 /PRNewswire/ --  New research from Harvard Business Review Analytic Services in association with Egencia ®, business travel from Expedia Group™, proves that when aligned with a company's strategy, a well-managed travel programme can deliver a tangible competitive advantage. The report "Travel Culture: Your Competitive Advantage in a Global Market" shows 58 per cent of business leaders confirm that having a strong travel culture – one where the company, its leaders and its processes support the use of corporate travel as a form of strategic investment with business value – produces better business results.

The research reveals that over the last year, companies with a strong travel culture had double the rate of improvement in key areas such as customer loyalty and retention (50 per cent vs 21 per cent), market share (43 per cent vs 22 per cent) and employee satisfaction (35 per cent vs 15 per cent), compared to companies with a weak travel culture. Even profitability improved significantly (47 per cent vs 29 per cent), proving the staggering impact a well-managed business travel programme can have on achieving solid business results.

"Corporate travel is increasingly fundamental to business performance, particularly as companies expand their global footprint," says Wendy White, vice president of marketing at Egencia. "It's clear that when business leaders look at travel as a strategic investment and have a global travel management company like Egencia on board, it quickly becomes a differentiator – and the data supports this. But a strong travel culture delivers more than a competitive edge, it helps teams across the world work better together and supports a unified company culture."

However, less than a third (31 per cent) of the 587 business leaders surveyed believe that their organisation actually has a strong travel culture. In fact, most admit that managed corporate travel is not seen as a strategic investment in its future but rather a cost to be minimised. This is a critically shortsighted view in today's global marketplace where the majority of business leaders recognise that in-person interactions help ensure positive long-term relationships with customers (84 per cent), and importantly, between employees in a company (78 per cent).

While it's clear to business leaders what a strong travel culture is and why it's fundamental in helping their company to differentiate and compete, well under half are prioritising this today. Of the ones that effectively manage business travel, a huge majority (77 per cent) have a single TMC onboard. It is proving to be the basis for a more strategic approach to business travel.

Having a full-service platform TMC like Egencia in place helps companies unlock the maximum potential of their travel programme, creating value for their business and their travellers in a virtuous cycle. Travel managers benefit from data and analytics that help them identify new sources of savings, travellers can easily book and manage their trips through the Egencia app and businesses gain a competitive edge.

The full report "Travel Culture: Your Competitive Advantage in a Global Market" is available to read.

A total of 587 respondents drawn from Harvard Business Review audience of readers completed the survey in March 2019.

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