Egencia: Leveraging Tech to Restore Confidence in Business Travel

Airline interior during COVID 

Matt Moran, MBA ‘15
Corporate Sales Executive

Matt Moran headshotHow was your industry impacted and how will it transform?

COVID-19 has impacted the travel industry significantly and business travel even more than leisure. Fortunately, our clients are finding that Egencia, the business travel arm of Expedia Group and one of the world’s leading travel management companies, has proven its value during such a crisis more than ever.

When borders were closing, it was our travel consultants who helped our travelers change itineraries and repatriate as quick as possible. When travel managers were being asked to help their employees get back home safely, it was our Egencia Traveler Tracker tool they sought out to locate their employees and push critical messages to them.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, duty of care and employee safety have become a greater priority for companies. Leaders from both small businesses to multi-national companies have found that it is important to have a plan in place to future-proof their business and recover some of the current loss when this crisis subsides.

All business leaders today face a new challenge -- balancing business growth with new considerations for employees’ mental health and wellbeing when working remotely, in returning to the office, or while traveling for work.

The pandemic elevated travel risk management to a whole new level, fundamentally reshaping the approach to business travel, likely forever. Business travel now requires much more knowledge and ability from the company, the travel management function and from the travel provider.

Egencia is unique in that we own our entire technology stack. Our product team shelved planned features to quickly build the capability for managers to see if employees were traveling to recent COVID hot spots.

Matt Moran Egencia

What practices were shelved to make way for new ones?

Egencia is unique compared to other travel management companies in that we own our entire technology stack so we can react quickly to our customer needs. For example, our product team shelved planned features to quickly build the capability for managers to see if employees were traveling to recent COVID hot spots.

Having that valuable insight allows them to make better decisions for their business and their people. In this very real scenario, managers can ask an employee that had traveled to a COVID hot spot to self-quarantine before coming into the office again.

We also launched an enhanced Egencia Connect Community for travel managers to share best practices for managing their travel program including COVID-19 travel policies. The new and enhanced Egencia Connect Community offers travel managers program guidance, networking and knowledge sharing with others in the field, access to experts, and global travel alerts.Airport waiting area during COVID

Do you see any opportunities in this brave new world?

A June 2020 survey of Egencia clients showed nearly 90% of travel managers believe their companies will resume some level of business travel before January 2021. In this same survey, a third shared that employee unwillingness to travel is preventing their return to travel. Employees need to feel confident about traveling for work. They need information that assures them they are fully supported from planning to booking to returning home.

Our new tool, the Egencia Travel Advisor, delivers meaningful, accurate information to business travelers about COVID-related impacts to travel in and outside of the United States. It provides on-demand access to country-level data on travel bans and restrictions, procedural information imposed by the CDC to airports, and directional information that helps guide travel policies.

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