Empowering Choice in Business Travel Drives Positive Behavior
Directly rewarding travelers can involve finance and human resources departments. Despite the process complexity that it requires, its impact on the bottom line makes it a worthwhile effort.
Earlier this decade, several third parties attempted to develop “gamification” platforms that reward travelers with points or “badges” to reward decisions that contributed to lowering travel expenses behavior. Expanding on this concept came the Rocketrip technology company.
The then startup approached incentives differently.
When travelers enter the details of an upcoming business trip, Rocketrip uses an internal algorithm based on market prices and other parameters that have been pre-determined.
Along with other aspects, like negotiated rate schedules and historical spending data, the program calculates a projected price for the trip, which serves as a cost baseline against which to calculate savings.
If the traveler books a trip at a price lower than the projected cost, for example, when going from business class to economy class, they keep half of the savings that originated from their conscious behavior.
Rocketrip Founder Dan Ruch said: “We took the best recognition components and incorporated them into our platform, but the biggest change we made in terms of improving the classic kind of definition of gamification is inserting a significant real value, not subjectively but objectively. “
“Companies must be willing to bear the cost of meaningful rewards.”– Dan Ruch
Today, Rocketrip has partnered with nearly two dozen corporate travel agencies, including BCD Travel and CWT, as well as booking and expense reimbursement platforms Concur, Deem, and GetThere. Customers pay an annual license fee based on travel volume, and Ruch said customers generally save 10-15% on their travel costs after the distribution of the traveler rewards.
“In general, and there are exceptions to this rule, travel managers don’t want to reward employees who are changing their behavior,” Ruch said.
“They want them to change. But when you ask them what they want to give as a reward, well, they want to give badges, and they want to give thank you notes and anything that doesn’t cost money because they don’t have the budget for these types of programs.
“We’ve partnered with travel managers and presented this opportunity to CFOs and HR managers. We can fundamentally change the way your employees think about the decisions they make, and we have enough data gathered over more than six years.
If companies want to achieve a meaningful reduction in travel costs, they should be willing to bear the cost of a reward. It should be meaningful to the employee and empower them as active participants through their own choices.