If you have an international company, implementing a single travel management company that can provide the same business travel service to all your locations around the world may seem like a sensible move. But is it really as simple as it first appears?
Globalising a business travel programme for the first time is often a huge undertaking for an organisation. It takes up a huge amount of cost and time in project management, and, with many global travel management companies being made up of a combination of partnerships and franchises, the unified service isn’t always as seamless as you may have hoped for.
Advances in business travel technology mean that for certain organisations there is just no need to use a single global corporate travel supplier to achieve a globally consolidated travel programme. Instead, they can use their existing network of local corporate travel providers linked to a single global technology platform.
This delivers all of the benefits of global consolidation to an organisation, enabling cost savings, visibility of global spend and travellers plus the application of a global business travel policy and approval process, whilst mitigating the challenges of a global supplier change management project.
There are 5 critical success factors to achieve a ‘best in region’ global travel programme:
#1 - The leading Travel Management Company should be based where the corporate headquarters and decision makers are located, or where the majority of business travel spend is generated.
#2 - You need a single technology platform incorporating a global online booking tool, global reporting, and traveller tracking platforms, mobile traveller technology and expense management system.
#4 - The global technology needs to be implemented, set-up and then managed by the lead Travel Management Company.
#5 - The organisation spends less than £5m per year on business travel and is consolidating travel a maximum of 5 markets.
Once you have your local agencies and the right technology, the local providers simply ‘plug’ into the global technology network, integrating their local booking systems into the global self-booking tool whilst handing off data to global MIS tools, traveller safety platforms and expense management tools.
This provides an organisation with a global ‘best in class’ network of local travel management companies, all of whom are a good cultural fit with the local office and achieving all of the benefits of a global travel programme, whilst reducing resistance to change and increasing buy-in and adoption.
The global visibility of spend still allows the lead global agent to provide the global account management support, and work with the organisation to deliver global supplier deals and ensure these are accessed and visible within local travel management companies.
What do you think? Is there another way to manage a global travel programme? Let us know in the comment box below...