Reducing the Cost of Government Travel by Encouraging Earlier Travel Booking
What was the challenge?
The majority of government travelers in the General Services Administration (GSA) book airline tickets within 10 days of the trip, even if they know the travel dates well in advance. Encouraging earlier booking of airline travel could create significant cost savings by increasing the likelihood that travelers will be able to book less expensive capacity-controlled fares. As part of GSA’s efforts to increase efficiency in government travel, the Office of Evaluation Sciences (OES) created a traveler journey map to inform future intervention designs.
What did we do?
To better understand traveler booking experiences and diagnose the behavioral bottlenecks, OES conducted interviews with GSA employees who travel for work. The OES team utilized this qualitative data to generate a behavioral map of travelers’ experiences in cooperation with the Travel, Relocation, Mail & Transportation Policy Division at GSA.
What did we learn?
The behavioral map identifies key bottlenecks that contribute to travelers booking airline tickets close to the date of travel, such as the hassle factor and planning fallacy. The top panel presents the current process, and the bottom panel shows possible interventions that can encourage earlier travel booking. The proposed intervention includes three touch points:
- an email notification informing employees that making an early reservation in Concur is policy compliant and can be done before receiving other approvals,
- a notification within Concur that reminds travelers of the benefits of booking early, and
- an email reminder to those who have upcoming travel that they should not wait for Salesforce approval to create an airline reservation.
OES plans to evaluate the effectiveness of the intervention with a randomized control trial.