Understanding the Cost of Traveler Friction

Over the past decade, travel program policies and the role of travel managers have changed dramatically. After the 2007–09 global financial crisis, travel programs came under closer scrutiny from procurement and finance departments, as firms sought to cut costs as much as possible. In more recent years, the pendulum has begun to swing away from heavily financially driven decision-making and towards more traveler-centric models. Today’s corporate travel managers operate increasingly more sophisticated travel programs and work more closely than ever with their counterparts in finance, procurement, human resources, technology and risk.

These programs seek to minimize the total cost of travel by balancing the tangible costs of travel expenses with the intangible costs of traveler friction—the wear and tear of too much travel. This study examines traveler friction from the road warrior’s perspective in order to give travel managers—and other stakeholders—a stronger fact base for considering changes to travel policies, technology, processes and culture.

Survey Methodology

In May 2016, MMGY Global, a global leader of behavioral insights throughout the travel industry, conducted a thirteen minute online survey with 757 respondents using the firm’s proprietary AmeriLink™ online survey tool on behalf of the Airlines Reporting Corporation (ARC), American Express Global Business Travel and tClara™. 


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The Airlines Reporting Corporation (ARC) is the premier driver of air travel intelligence and commerce in the air travel industry with leading business solutions, travel agency accreditation services, process and financial management tools and high-quality data. In 2015, ARC settled $88.3 billion worth of carrier ticket transactions for more than 9,400 travel agencies with 13,000 points of sale. Established in 1984, ARC is headquartered in Arlington, Virginia, with offices in Louisville, Kentucky, Tampa, Florida and San Juan, Puerto Rico. For more information, please visit www.arccorp.com and www.twitter.com/arctalk.

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