Sustainability in Travel and Procurement
"Sustainability mandates will be felt throughout all aspects of the financial operation. Travel managers have the burden of both handling the regulatory compliance around sustainability as it continues to evolve and carrying the load of providing sustainable options for travelers.
More than 80% [of survey respondents] feel that incorporating responsible source principles will have a significant impact on procurement, including travel content and travel service providers." — IDC, Keys to Optimize Travel Procurement, 2022
Balancing sustainability goals with procurement goals
“Hospitality and travel operators cite energy efficiency requirements (65%) and mandatory reduction of carbon footprint (47%) as two areas having profound or significant impact on their organizations.” — IDC COVID-19 Impact on IT Spending Survey, November 2020
Cost is a major factor for travel sourcing managers. The challenge for travel procurement is to balance cost control without negatively impacting the traveler experience or traveler safety. This will be a greater concern going forward as fuel costs and inflation are set to push procurement rates for hotels, airlines, and transportation higher. — IDC, Keys to Optimize Travel Procurement, 2022
The U.S. Travel Price Index increased by 19% in May 2022 compared to May 2019. — U.S. Travel Price Index, U.S. Travel Association
Sustainability matters, but at what cost? In a recent GBTA study, most U.S. and Canada-based travel managers (84%) said sustainability is at least “somewhat important” in the design of their travel program. However, only 6% of these same travel managers said their company currently allows employees to spend more if sustainable options are available. An additional one-quarter (26%) would consider allowing travelers to spend more.
"This creates a dilemma. Travel programs want to reduce their carbon footprint but are mindful of cost. Several of the most impactful carbon reduction measures—such as purchasing carbon offsets, allowing direct flights, paying extra for sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), or prioritizing flights on newer aircraft—can have significant cost.”
Travelers focus on sustainability
“Sustainability is a fast-rising factor. Adding more functionality to support ethical and sustainable travel vendor sourcing is seen as “valuable” for more than 90% of procurement professionals.”
Especially when “4 in 5 U.S. business travelers want to return to or exceed their pre-pandemic business travel frequency and young travelers are most eager to travel more. Almost half of travelers 18-34 (45%) want to travel more often than they did pre-pandemic.
“For most business travelers (56%), sustainability [minimizing your carbon footprint] is a moderate priority. But reducing emissions is a bigger priority for younger business travelers — 84% of 18-34 year-old travelers say reducing carbon footprint when traveling for business is a moderate or top priority.
“Business travelers are willing to sacrifice in order to reduce carbon emissions. Most are willing to opt out of daily room cleanings (77%), rent smaller cars (73%), fly premium class less often (68%), take fewer business trips (63%) and even travel for longer periods of time to reduce emissions (56%).” —GBTA Survey: The Dawn of the Employee-Centric Travel Program, 2022
Part of optimizing the travel procurement process
“Some measures save money. These include reducing business travel, allowing premium class flights less often, and requiring travelers to rent smaller car classes. While these measures save money, they still have a cost. They can hurt tarveler experience and undermine productivity [poor experience can result in frustrated, tired employees, especially for longer trips.].” —GBTA Survey: The Dawn of the Employee-Centric Travel Program, 2022
“Rise of remote/hybrid workers: IDC predicts that by 2023, digital transformation and business volatility will drive 70% of G2000 organizations to deploy remote or hybrid-frst work models.” — IDC FutureScape: Worldwide Future of Work 2022 Predictions, October 2021
From IDC, Keys to Optimize Travel Procurement, 2022:
“Over 42% of vendors are mainly using spreadsheets for analyzing supplier data.
“40% of travel procurement professionals are willing to pay a premium for intelligent travel procurement features."
You might also be interested in:
- See more about EcoCheck, the carbon emissions reporting feature in Etta
- Research and policy work of the International Institute for Sustainable Development
- Our free eBook (with no forms to fill): The Importance of Sustainability in Corporate Travel
- Finding Greener Travel Options infographic
- Blog: 6 Ways to Make Business Travel More Sustainable