Most travellers will have multiple travel apps on their phone to help smooth their journey. But how can travel managers incorporate the most appropriate apps into their managed travel programme in order to engage travellers, keep them in policy and ensure duty of care. The answer is by defining and implementing an effective mobile strategy.
There are a number of initial questions that a Travel Manager needs to ask in order to define a mobile strategy. Who is this app for – who are your target users? What’s the objective – do you want to simplify workflows, or automate certain processes? What departments will this affect? Is this strategy endorsed at executive level? Does anyone object because of security considerations or data roaming costs? What would 100% adoption look like? Can you show positive ROI – not necessarily financial, it could be based on employee satisfaction?
Once you have these answers, then don’t necessarily try to build the app yourself. Find out if you can leverage the expertise of a travel partner who already has experience of delivering mobile apps to market. Or if your travellers already use certain apps, could it be beneficial to incorporate these applications into your travel programme?
When FCM developed Sam, our chatbot-based app for business travellers, we decided to focus on the end user and combine the variety of services and information they need throughout their journey within one simple interface. However, we never assumed anything. We encouraged users to give feedback and help shape the app so that it gives them what they need on the move.
So, you’ve made a decision about which mobile app to deploy, but now you need to ensure it comes to life and gains traction among users. Firstly, involve all the right departments in the deployment process – whether that’s finance, HR or IT; then identify ‘ambassadors’ within your company to pilot the app and endorse its benefits; and make sure you have support from executive management not just in terms of budget but someone who recognises the business benefits of implementing a mobile strategy.
Encourage your travellers to use the app, alleviate their concerns; show them ‘what’s in it for me’. Don’t mandate usage - carrots work better than sticks! Above all communicate effectively with your travellers. If your mobile app isn’t adopted by your travellers it will be a waste of your time. But if it is, then based on research by the GBTA, you could see a huge increase in traveller engagement and compliance, and a big reduction in traveller friction and off-programme bookings.
This blogpost was written by Michel Rouse, Chief Technology Officer, FCM Travel Solutions, who is taking part in the Travel Technology Europe panel session ‘How to build effective tech teams on Wednesday 20th February at 14.00 hours. FCM will also be demonstrating latest enhancements to its mobile app Sam on stand B130 at the Business Travel Show www.fcmtravel.com