Thursday, May 30, 2024

German travel managers increasingly focused on ‘process optimisation’

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Improving processes for travel management is the top concern for corporate travel and procurement managers in Germany, according to a study conducted by VDR, the country’s corporate travel association.

The preliminary results, released on Wednesday (15 May) following a survey of more than 800 corporate travel managers, will form part of VDR’s forthcoming Business Travel Report 2024 and reveal how travel management roles are changing in the era of hybrid and remote work.

Close to 95 per cent of respondents highlighted “process optimisation” as a primary area of concern given the increasing complexity of business mobility and the number of ‘new subject areas’ being added to the travel manager’s remit.

The vast majority (80 per cent) of respondents said fleet management also forms part of their responsibilities, which VDR said signals a greater move towards ‘holistic mobility’ with business travel now encompassing commuting and ‘blended travel’.

Remote and flexible work arrangements are also gaining traction among German companies, with all respondents saying their organisation allows employees to work “at least partially” from home or within Germany. Meanwhile, 43 per cent of companies also allow employees to work from abroad and a further 33 per cent plan to do so.

“In order to design processes effectively, those responsible for mobility are becoming more than ever interface managers between the areas of human resources, purchasing, finance and even IT,” said VDR in a statement featuring the preliminary findings.

The survey revealed that more than half (52 per cent) of large companies with more than 500 employees are tapping artificial intelligence (AI) to improve travel management processes, while just 36 per cent of smaller businesses (10 to 500 employees) are doing so.  

Environmental sustainability and travel safety rounded out the top three priorities of travel managers, both now and in the future, with the association pointing to the EU’s recently introduced Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) as a key driver.

VDR plan to publish the full Business Travel Report 2024 at the end of June.

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