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Quality Measurement in Business Travel: A Travel Manager’s Imperative

As a business travel manager, measuring the quality of your travelers’ experiences is an essential yet often overlooked responsibility. In the past, when travel managers worked with agents to book corporate travel, there were fewer touch points in the process, making it easier to assess the quality of the full travel experience from flight to accommodation to ground transportation.

But with the digitalization of the modern travel experience, travelers interact with several tools and people in their booking experience and have more autonomy than ever, all of which leave the travel manager with less control over the end user’s experience as well as how the travel program impacts the bottom line.

Measuring travel

Quality management, then, has suffered – it hasn’t been able to keep up with the pace of change in the travel industry. According to the results of a recent study by the Association of Corporate Travel Executives (ACTE), many corporate travel managers still use legacy standards of measurement, such as booking statistics, policy compliance, and call center stats. These are largely focused on the cost of the travel program and therefore can’t take into the account the intangible value of business travel: the traveler’s ability to get their job done.

There is an industry-wide understanding, however, that there needs to be a better measure of “experience,” but there seems to be no agreement on how that might be done. Eighty percent of respondents to ACTE’s survey want a standard system of measurement that is uniform, transparent, and responsive to a rapidly changing landscape. 


Managing the quality of a travel program should include metrics like year-over-year financial impact as well as trip success rate, HR indicators, and traveler satisfaction, among other factors. Travel managers should also look to their service level agreements with vendors and partners. These contracts should lay out the metrics by which service is measured, as well as incentives or penalties to reach agreed-upon service levels. Partners can also serve as excellent resources to provide feedback on an organization’s own program.

Adopting more effective measurement metrics could provide travel managers with the ability to better understand the traveler journey, to improve their experience, and to demonstrate to senior leaders how valuable their contribution really is. As the industry continues to evolve, we hope and expect to see quality measurement evolve alongside it.

Fitzgerald Draper, Research Director, The Association of Corporate Travel Executives, [email protected]

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