1 THE BACKGROUND
LinkedIn recognised that traveller satisfaction should be at the forefront of thinking for travel procurement today, using travel policy as a carrot to attract new talent. Around 8,000 LinkedIn employees take regular business trips, the bill for which exceeds $40million. But with LinkedIn’s travel policy being just four years old there were some kinks to be ironed out. “LinkedIn has a ‘non-mandate culture’ where employees take ownership of their actions,” says LinkedIn’s Global Travel and Event Operations Manager, Leslie Hadden.
“While there is a travel policy, it’s basically just a guide and it wasn’t always clear which suppliers travellers should use. And when they used their own alternatives it could cost the company more.”
Critically, however, all these issues led to a situation where only 64% of LinkedIn’s travelling community were satisfied with their experiences.
2 THE RESEARCH
The first step towards solving a problem is to make sure you fully understand it, so LinkedIn needed to know who its travellers were, why they travel, and what information, services, and amenities they needed to best achieve their business travel goals. To this end, the company launched a survey and asked all their travelling employees to complete it.
Once it had the data, LinkedIn could break down the various issues their people were having and begin devising solutions. “Segregating the groups and really listening gave us a very good understanding of our travellers,” says Hadden.
“We learned that 44% of LinkedIn travellers are in sales, products and services who travel often and care about their budget.
“But in addition to the road warriors, there are travel arrangers, new travellers, executives and people in the finance department who have an interest in travel. And we learned that travellers were interested in exploring new accommodation and travel options – like Airbnb and Uber – when they were on the road.”
3 THE SOLUTION
LinkedIn set about addressing each issue. A new platform, TravelIn, allowed the company to deliver travel messaging more effectively than before. In addition, the inSider platform also allowed messages to be shared socially between the company’s travellers. The in-house booking tool was streamlined and upgraded with new guidelines and advice, with satisfaction in booking trips rising 13% as a result. Within 18 months, overall traveller satisfaction in the LinkedIn travel experience had risen to 84%, with reports of dissatisfaction or extreme dissatisfaction down to just 4%.
4 THE CONCLUSION
Traveller satisfaction is going to continue to be a hot topic as we move through 2019. LinkedIn has shown that by simply listening, things can be set back on course.
“People are starting to really love our programme. They’re noticing that we’re communicating with them and connecting with them,” says Hadden. “My goal is to make travellers happier and more productive on the road and traveller engagement is at the heart of that.”