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Travel Managers: Don't Let Your Travelers Get Decision Fatigue

Written by Megan Kratzman on November 26, 2019

There's a well-known proverb that tells us less is more. We’re not sure who came up with the saying, but whoever it was clearly wasn’t a supplier in the travel industry. 

Today, travelers have more choices than ever about how to customize their trip experience from when to travel, to which air or hotel provider to use, to what type of seat or room to book. While the increase in choices can seem like a good thing, it can also be overwhelming. 

In 2006, social psychologist Roy Baumeister coined the term decision fatigue to describe the phenomenon in which the more decisions a person is forced to make, the more depleted the ability to make quality decisions can become. Behavioral economists have since linked decision fatigue to reduced ability to compromise, increased decision avoidance, greater impulse purchasing and impaired self-regulation. 

If true, consider the impact decision fatigue could be having on your organization. At Pana, we've broken down the anatomy of a trip—from choosing a supplier, to selecting rate types, to planning arrival and departure—and found that the average traveler makes more than 70 different decisions when they’re coordinating a trip. That’s on top of the estimated 35,000 decisions a working professional might have to make in a single day. 

This amounts to a big problem. Not only do current processes to coordinate a trip take up a traveler's time, but the volume of choices involved can also make the traveler a worse decision maker in the areas that are critical to job success and personal wellbeing. 

For guest travel, we see an even greater potential for decision fatigue to set in, because those booking a trip are typically unfamiliar with an organization’s travel policy and can be uncertain about which choices are the correct ones to make. 

At Pana, we've decided to do something about it. Our new automated rules engine allows us to take into account factors like the seniority level of the traveler, the length of travel, location, and route, in order to make decisions on behalf of a traveler. The rules engine can cater to simple policy decisions, such as what airline cabin class or hotel property and room type are approved. But it can also make behavior decisions that, for instance, steer a senior-level executive to a different hotel than one a university recruit might choose or to the best airport to use to get to a meeting. 

It's an enhancement that’s allowed the booking process to be reduced to 45 seconds on average per traveler to organize centrally billed air, car, hotel and incidentals. As a result, ratings for booking with Pana currently stands at 4.95 star rating out of 5 among guests who've experienced the automation engine. 

We like to think of it as making a million copies of you, the travel manager, and putting you in the pocket of your travelers so that they make the optimal decision...without the fatigue.

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