The terms B2B (business to business) and B2C (business to consumer) are commonly used to talk about how a product or solution is brought to market. Having spent my career in B2B, I was intrigued - and a bit skeptical - by CWT’s B2B4E concept. I wrongly assumed it was merely a marketing tagline.
But I see that the ‘E’ matters, greatly. It brings the necessary balance to serving the unique needs of businesses as well as those of their workforce. The 'E' represents employee expectation for consumer-grade experiences, simplicity in getting the job done, and doing what is best for the business. In other words, it is a requirement for employee-grade experiences.
If we’ve learned anything in the Covid-era, it is that employee needs go well beyond the office to include health, safety, and overall wellbeing. And for businesses, this translates to increased concern for productivity, engagement and welfare, and how these elements influence the bottom line.
In business travel, these interests are even more pertinent. In order to address these needs, a B2B4E travel platform must do five things:
- Be employee-grade – Traveling employees need to focus on their business, not their itinerary. A travel platform must recognize individuals and personalize their planning and journey with “know me” experiences based on trends, patterns, and preferences.
- Support a clear “why” - Travel is increasingly purposeful and aligned to values. Social responsibility, sustainability, and risk management are just a few of the higher-order objectives that must be considered and reflected in a travel platform and program.
- Put wellbeing first – Health, comfort, and safety will determine employees’ willingness to travel, and company endorsement of it, more than ever before. From pre-trip approval and accommodation to mobility preferences and traveler communication, a B2B4E platform must enable a more human approach to travel management.
- Assure global reliability – Enterprise businesses operate around the clock and around the globe. Their travel platform must follow suit, providing robust security, seamless systems and process integration, and 24x7 global servicing. For example, when work-from-home directives were issued across the globe, this time last year, CWT responded by setting up 24/7 in-app messaging and a one-click cancellation button to help travelers get home.
- Guide on best practice – Especially in travel, there is benefit in taking the well-beaten path. Learning from thousands of businesses and millions of travelers, a travel platform must translate capabilities used by travelers like me into a prescribed or essential approach with configurability for unique needs.
Many long-standing business travel capabilities are becoming table stakes. Content, booking, rates and reporting are some examples of expected core capability and strength for any business travel solution. Whereas next-generation battlegrounds like employee welfare and business responsibility - topics meaningful to individuals and businesses alike – bring a new focus to the shared interests of companies and their employees.
This is what B2B4E is about. The outcome of serving both business and employee needs simultaneously is a more values-oriented view of success. It combines a traditional financial return-on-investment with a shared measure of value for investment.
In short, B2B4E is all about the E.