In order to make the most of your corporate travel spending budget, it is critical to plan for leveraging your system for all it is worth. Telling tourists to select the lowest logical airfare is simply not enough. Here are the elements that should be considered when planning or evaluating your journey program.
1 . Travel policy
An interesting and disseminated travel policy could be the foundation of any good travel system, and I am consistently amazed that so many corporations have such an obsolete and poorly conceived travel plan, if they have one at all. It is not difficult to get a well written policy. One can be found online quite easily. All that remains is that it will be edited to reflect corporate lifestyle, and disseminated within the company to ensure that everyone understands and agrees to follow along with it. For this reason, it is a good idea to get everyone sign a copy of the travel policy to ensure that it is study, understood and owned by almost all company staff. I suggest that everyone in the company signs a copy of the travel policy, whether they traveling or not. They may change positions in the company later and be required to travel. A travel policy need not become long or complex. Some of the best vacation policies I have ever seen had been only a few pages long.
2 . Central travel internally and externally
A lot of companies do not centralize their traveling program, and they pay a price in terms of a loss of expense reduction opportunities and internal efficiencies. Many businesses that do not centralize travel possess a fear of requiring travelers to do something they may not want to do, along with the concept that centralizing travel will require hiring a Journey Manager. Both of these may be legitimate problems but they do not have to be in most cases. Simply by requiring travelers to book centrally, you are not necessarily causing them to reduce flexibility. You can centralize travel whilst still allowing travelers to guide on their own, either with a travel agency of your choice, or online via a provider that you have partnered with and also have confidence in. By assigning someone with the responsibility of overseeing take a trip, you are getting a single point associated with contact both internally and externally for travel issues. If your organization spends less than $1 million in air travel, you probably do not need a full time journey manager. In these cases, travel oversight can be given to the finance department, recruiting, or even an executive level associate. Here is a look at the advantages to be obtained by centralizing travel.
When you focus travel with a single agency, you gain in a number of important ways. You will have an individual point of contact for complications while travelers are on the road, and you may have one entity to go to for all your travel needs. This eliminates the problem of consolidating a travel report through among several sources. By bringing travel together, you will gain considerably from economies of scale. When you can measure total travel among various divisions or locations, you can get a lot more for your money from travel suppliers. This will allow you to gain more from air travel soft dollar programs, which means a lot more free tickets and upgrades, obtain a higher percentage discount from our preferred airline, and get better negotiated rates from your hotel and car contracts. Your fulfillment costs will decrease as well, as your travel agency will often discount their fees for a higher overall volume of travel.
3. Mix of online booking and personal service
This is an addendum to the previous element, which calls for centralizing travel with one particular travel agency. This is important, but in doing so, you need not require travelers to use an online booking system, and you do not need to require travelers to call the particular agency directly. By offering travelers the option of doing either, you are achieving several goals. You will reduce your satisfaction costs, as online booking is cheaper in terms of a service fee. By giving travelers the option, you are giving them a feeling of control, thereby increasing morale plus standing a better chance of a high adoption rate.
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Thirdly, you leave open up a best practice of using your on-line booking engine for less complex itineraries, and allowing senior executives, regular travelers, and complex itineraries to become booked directly with a travel agent that can offer a higher level of service as well as a better overall travel experience exactly where it is most warranted.
4. Seem under every stone
While the bulk of most travel programs revolve across the air budget, there are several other areas you can investigate to find savings opportunities. A few couple of more obvious areas to look, such as negotiated hotel rates at your favorite hotels, or car rental discount rates with a favored supplier. Often your travel agency will already have discounted rates through consortia affiliations plus agency car contracts. There are also a few less common areas that should be researched. For example , if ground transportation is a concern, most suppliers will offer reduced rates and a direct billing option. Direct billing arrangements with hotels and car rental agencies are also a terrific way to increase efficiencies and make the job of the accounting department easier.
5. Leverage hard dollar and gentle dollar contracts
Most major air carriers today offer hard dollar discount rates as well as soft dollar incentives in return for company loyalty to their product. If your travel program is over $1,000,000 in air spend, you can secure a discount off of the lowest costs of your carrier of choice in return for a market share commitment. For your secondary service providers, or if your volume is lower than the minimum required by the airline, you can enter in to soft buck programs for free tickets and free upgrades, as well as traveler status enhancements or airport club passes. These types of programs require little in the way of quantity, but they are not well publicized so you may need to hunt for them or request Baker Travel or your current agency to point you in the right direction.
6. Do not neglect hotel volume
Hotel volume is sometimes unnoticed but it should not be. Negotiated rates can be had through your travel agency or even directly with the hotel properties of the choice. Individual hotels near business locations will negotiate discounted rates for you in exchange for a minimum room/night commitment. By utilizing a travel agency, you are likely to receive discounts of 5% to 50% on thousands of hotels worldwide.
7. Have at least one carrental contract
Rental car contracts are easy to enter into and require little in the way of commitment from the corporation. Choose a partner which has airport locations and a reputation intended for excellent customer service. You can save 5-10% simply and can also negotiate frequent tenant membership for all your employees. This will get them to more efficient and enhance morale. You may also enter in to direct billing agreements at the same time that can make the jobs of the travelers and accounting staff much less stressful.
8. Understand group and meeting contracts
Airlines and resorts will discount your fares plus rates when you have groups traveling with each other or meeting at a single location from multiple points of origins. These meeting contracts can bring a person airfare discounts of 2-10%, and if you have enough travelers on a single flight, you may be able to negotiate for free seat tickets to be awarded at contract conclusion. The minimum requirement is usually 10 travelers going to the same place at the same time. Some airlines have higher minimums so be sure to ask before an agreement is generated. Hotels will discount their rates in a similar way with a the least 10 room nights. These special discounts can range from 10% to a higher discount depending upon occupancy rate plus seasonal variances.
9. Use confirming to consistently improve metrics
Well managed travel programs require constant monitoring and financial controls to become properly leveraged. Insist on timely and customized reports that can be designed to bring you the information you need most. By getting regular reporting on traveler actions and provider contract performance, you will end up in a better position to fulfill agreement obligations, achieve cost reduction objectives and see where opportunities for upcoming savings may lie.
10. Use all avenues to enhance traveler ease and comfort and efficiency
Lastly, any nicely managed travel program will take in to account the comfort and efficiency of their travelers. When travelers are usually comfortable, they can focus on their primary priorities that help propel your company forward. If travelers are happy, they perform at a higher level. Request if your travel agency can update traveler status on a preferred airline. Look in to purchasing blocks associated with airport club passes so they can be applied strategically during long and complicated itineraries. There are many ways to reward tourists for the difficult and often grueling chore of travel. These kinds of rewards create feelings of loyalty and increased productivity and efficiency.
If you would like to find out more about how your company can better influence their travel program to advantage your bottom line and the satisfaction of the executive level, feel free to contact me personally. I am delighted to point you in the right direction.