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Use gaming to drive compliance

In the US, both Google and Coca-Cola are utilising gaming tactics to help drive better traveller behaviour. Do you want to pit traveller against traveller? Read on to discover if it could work for your company

Use gaming to drive compliance

The competitive instinct is a strong one, and travel managers are learning how to tap into it to drive behaviours that meet or exceed travel management objectives. Leading lights in this school include Michael Tangney, travel manager for Google, and consultant Tom Ruesink of Ruesink Consulting Group, creator of a “batting average” concept in use at Coca-Cola. Although the incentives in practice at each company vary in terms of scope and 'payout', they are united in their ability to exploit the gaming mentality that permeates the consumer space.

STEP 1: Ruesink’s batting average, based on placing numeric values to travel booking activities – like using the corporate booking tool, attaching a hotel reservation to an air booking and purchasing air tickets a defined number of days in advance of travel – singles out top performers for recognition and below-average performers for training.

STEP 2: The names of the top and bottom performers are emailed monthly to travellers within a department, incentivising them to improve their score. Ruesink and Peter Pearson, Coca-Cola’s scorecard sponsor and manager of TravelSmart (the company recently rebranded its travel department to accentuate its role as an action-oriented enabler) are currently collaborating on a new, more visual scorecard output to add to the concept’s impact.

STEP 3: While Coca-Cola relies on the thrill of the chase to motivate travellers, out at the leading edge of mandate-free and behaviour-driven travel management, the Google programme adds a fiscal fillip to that thrill. The company wraps incentives around the travel programme that encourage employees to search for better deals; those who find them are able to bank half the savings in a business travel account that they can apply to future trips on which they might want to spend beyond the benchmark caps – or they can donate the amount to a charity of their choice.

Scott Gillespie, a travel management industry thought leader and blogger at Gillespie’s Guide to Travel + Procurement, has written about his vision for empowering travellers who make good decisions, specifically via the same channel itself touted as a vehicle for empowerment, the online booking tool. “Why not create a positive reward, rather than a negative consequence, for travellers who are about to pull the trigger on a travel purchase?”

Gillespie envisions a motivating interface at the point of sale (the online booking tool) that provides explicit reinforcement of the desired booking behaviour, the reward associated with it, his current status and what it takes to get to the next level.

In April 2011, SERKO, the provider of an online booking tool popular in the Australasian market, debuted a behaviour reward module that is customisable by each corporate client; it links reward points to desired behaviours and provides the traveller with his or her position on a leaderboard. The consumer market puts weight in the individual’s behaviour and the consumer can feel the direct impact of any buying decision they make – it’s their wallet, after all.

In contrast, the corporate programme is cryptic and travellers rarely have real insight into the impact that their buying behaviour has. Travel managers need to deliver a purchasing experience in a way that motivates the individual buyer to make the best buying choices without nattering on about the policy.

STEP 4: By revealing travel programme goals (whether related to booking behaviours like advance purchase, preferred supplier usage, use of travel alternatives, reminders of policy parameters, or others) over the entire trip lifecycle, and by helping travellers connect their behavior to the realisation of those goals, travel managers will facilitate better-than-policy achievement.