Study: Business Travelers Still Going Rogue With Hotel Bookings

BELLEVUE, WA—A recent study, conducted on behalf of Egencia by Northstar, a globally integrated strategic insights consulting firm, found that despite the wide use of travel policies worldwide, “rogue booking,” the practice of business travelers booking outside of their travel program, is still an issue for corporate travel programs, especially when it comes to hotel stays. While 60% of companies have a travel policy in place, more than half of the business travelers surveyed are still allowed to book travel using any method they choose, and a full 46% have done so for hotel bookings, according to the research.

Business travelers book out-of-policy because either they could not find a hotel close enough to their destination (37%), or found a better price or hotel within their per diem (37%). With this in mind, providing relevance in a travel program means surfacing a selection of hotel choices at the top of their online search results that are tailored to the needs of the business travelers, according to the company. This can include location of hotels, as well as flexible booking options. Additionally, offering fair and competitive pricing eliminates the need to shop outside the company’s preferred booking channels.

“When it comes to hotels, we know that it’s not about searching, it’s about finding. That’s why we find ways to serve up the right choice for business travelers within the first few search results. And it works—75% of Egencia travelers book one of the top seven hotel results and over half book from the top three,” said Andrew Dyer, VP global supply-lodging at Egencia. “Travelers want an intuitive, cross-device experience with clear descriptions of what is included in the price. With this, they can feel confident that they are booking the right accommodations, which will in turn increase policy compliance.”

According to the study, incentives for staying within policy vary by region, but globally, monetary rewards prove to be the most likely incentive to encourage travelers to book within their policy. Sixty-two percent of business travelers say that they would choose within policy if they receive a percentage of savings for booking below the cap, and an additional 60% would comply if they received funds they could apply to other travel options. While it’s widely discussed that U.S. travelers prioritize loyalty points, the Egencia study found that loyalty points are the second most likely reason business travelers would book within policy, which is an indicator that their priorities could be changing. U.S. travelers are also by far the most easily persuaded to book in-policy, compared to their international counterparts.

The study was conducted among 4521 business travelers aged 18 and older in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Norway, Singapore, Sweden, United Kingdom and the United States. Surveys were completed online in April and May.