Business travel strategies can take many forms and deliver many benefits. These range from driving cost savings, ensuring your employees are protected when travelling, to rolling out the latest travel technology solutions for your travellers.
Through our experience of helping support our clients to meet their goals, we see the building of a clear vision and communication plan at the start of each project, a critical factor to making your corporate travel programme a real success.
Andrew Sison, Strategic Account Manager for Good Travel Management, shares some of the early warning signs why some business travel strategies fail.
#1 No ownership of travel strategy, means no responsibility.
Whether your business is supported by a Travel Management Company (TMC) or not, an individual within an organisation will need to take the lead on business travel activity. Driving travel policy compliance, highlighting added value benefits achieved through working with a preferred suppliers and gathering traveller feedback, are some of the tasks underpinning the strategy from the start.
#2 Trying to do it all in-house
If your annual business travel spend surpasses £50k, it’s time to consider using the support of a business travel agent. Their buying power will allow you to purchase reduced travel costs based on volumes, as well as gaining full support and control of your corporate travel spend.
Other benefits you can take advantage of include travel profile management, 24-hour support, enhanced travel payment solutions and Account Management. An Account Manager will take care of your business travel spend with consultative advice based on actual achievements made by a similar business in your business sector.
#3 Not sharing your goals with your travel management company (TMC)
Sharing your business travel strategy with your TMC is key to helping you achieve your goals. For example, if your strategy is to reduce costs, be sure to advise your business travel company. Armed with this information they will consult with you, on ways that your business can reduce costs on travel in the right way for your business mix.
Sharing your goals means gaining expert advice, such as how to book cheaper fares, changing booking habits when purchasing travel, and tips for booking travel options with more value than the face value cost. A good Travel Management Company will also offer new solutions on how to book travel, based on the travel mix your business consists of.
#4 Not analysing Business Travel Data
Data is THE most important thing to reduce your business travel spend (but only if you take action). Not working with your business travel data can be a big mistake, whether at pre or post-trip stage. With the help of a business travel company, you can see who is spending what and where.
Business travel agents can also tell you why some travellers spend more than others on travel, what savings opportunities have been missed / why, and which suppliers you are spending the most money on to help leverage airline deals or hotel discounts.
#5 Not being too stringent with your travellers.
Allowing your travellers some flexibility within your business travel policy can go a long way to ensuring traveller well-being. Driving down spend limits within your travel policy may force your employees onto flights with multiple changes just to ensure they have booked the cheapest cost.
It's not just flights, companies tirelessly trying to drive costs are booking stays at hotel properties in major cities with very low standards just because it sits within the hotel rate cap specified by the budget holders.
Instances like this can leave regular travellers disgruntled and unhappy. Setting realistic travel policy caps for air and hotels not only leads to a productive traveller, but allows travellers to be trusted to make booking choices within policy, whilst compliant to the set guidelines. This can also save time through streamlining any added approval process, as your travel bookers can book within the limits set within your agreed travel policy without needing any secondary approval.
Do you know of any other factors which have been an obstacle in your travel booking strategy? If you do, we’d love to hear from you, just comment in the box below...