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Why Gamification Is Trending for Post-Covid Travel Program RFPs

business woman traveling on train for rocketrip

Gamification in travel programs isn’t new — after all, we’ve been writing about how it can increase policy compliance and improve travel cultures for years — but over the past few weeks I’ve seen it come up increasingly often in RFPs and my conversations with our TMC and OBT partners. So I decided to dig further into why gamification seems to be trending right alongside more clear-cut topics like duty of care in post-Covid priorities and travel program updates.

As a quick refresher, gamification makes tedious tasks like filing expense reports more exciting by turning them into a game with rewards and incentives. Companies use gamification to keep employees motivated and knowledgeable about their job functions as well as provide new, alternative avenues for employee benefits and recognition.

The reasons companies are reevaluating their tech stacks post-Covid

Covid-19 has obviously forced enterprises to strategically rethink their approach to travel and also how to keep employees engaged and positive when travel’s an essential part of their role. As a result, companies are looking at all of the options available on the market to not only make their programs as safe as possible but also to make their programs stand out in the marketplace to retain and recruit top talent.

I asked Jorge Cruz, the Executive Vice President of Travel at BCD, why he thinks more companies are re-evaluating their travel stack and he told me, “The evaluation [for new TMCs] is driven predominately by normal sourcing processes, but, now due to the global pandemic, comes with a keen focus on the holistic program.”

Thinking holistically isn’t just a trend for travel policies, it’s becoming an increasingly necessary business practice to focus on the entire employee experience. According to a recent survey from Concur, around 40% of travelers are worried about the return to the road and 30% of employees feel anxiety about beginning travel. All this points to the fact that companies looking to keep their employees happy and motivated will need to do more than simply allow them to keep their credit card points or upgrades to business class.

And tech startups and partners are filling this holistic travel program need. As BCD’s Cruz explained, “Innovative third party solutions that easily plug into the TMC are driving more efficient programs from a duty of care, travel savings, and traveler experience perspective.”

Why gamification is appearing in more RFPs in 2020

But why has gamification become a specific feature travel managers are looking for in 2020? Patrick Keenan, Director of Sales at FCM Travel told me, “One of the biggest tasks travel managers have at the moment is creating engagement and buy-in with their travelers in the travel program. This is especially true in today’s environment where policies are adapting and changing all the time. Travelers need to feel involved in order to truly believe in the program and its benefits for them.”

Gamification addresses these rising concerns and needs. As travel managers look to update their program, gamification answers the question about creating engagement and buy-in to travel by giving employees more autonomy in their decisions. As program flexibility becomes increasingly important, it allows companies to market their policy and duty of care changes not as a mandate but as potential ways to gain rewards for making smarter choices. And in a time when it’s easy to feel disconnected, gamification is effective in fostering employee engagement.

“Platforms like Rocketrip help to create [a] level of engagement by utilizing gamification or strategic messaging throughout the journey to make sure their travelers are engaged in policy and potential benefits of following policy,” FCM’s Keenan stated. Gamification can create a travel policy that is mutually beneficial for both the travel manager and traveler alike.


Reid Fay is the Manager of Strategic Partnerships at Rocketrip.

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