10 Vital Elements of A Successful Corporate Travel Program
1. The policy on travel
Any excellent travel program starts with a well-written and widely distributed travel policy, and I’m constantly surprised that so many companies have such an antiquated and poorly conceived travel policy, if they have one at all. Finding a well-written policy is not difficult. One may simply be discovered on the internet.
All that is left is for it to be updated to fit the business culture and promoted across the organization so that everyone knows it and agrees to follow it. As a result, having everyone sign a copy of the travel policy to ensure that it is read, understood, and owned by all firm employees is a smart idea.
I recommend that everyone in the organization, whether they travel or not, signed a copy of the travel policy. They may be needed to travel if they change jobs later in the organization. A travel policy doesn’t have to be extensive or complicated. I’ve seen some of the greatest travel rules that were simply a few pages long.
2. Internal and exterior travel that is centralized
Many businesses fail to consolidate their travel programs, and as a result, they lose out on cost-cutting potential and internal efficiency. Many firms who do not centralize travel do so out of concern of forcing passengers to do something they may not want to do, as well as the belief that doing so will necessitate employing a Travel Manager.
Both of these worries may be valid, but they do not have to be in the majority of circumstances. You are not necessarily forcing passengers to lose flexibility by asking them to book centrally. You may centralize travel while still enabling passengers to book independently, either through a travel agency of your choice or online with a supplier with whom you have a relationship and trust.
You gain a single point of contact for travel concerns both internally and outside by appointing someone to supervise travel. You generally don’t need a full-time travel manager if your firm spends less than $1 million on air travel. Travel control can be delegated to the finance department, human resources, or even an executive assistant in certain instances. Here are some of the benefits of traveling in a central location.
When you consolidate travel with a single agency, you benefit in a variety of ways. You’ll have a single point of contact for issues that arise while passengers are on the road, and you’ll only have to deal with one company for all of your travel requirements. This solves the difficulty of putting together a travel report from many sources. You will benefit considerably from economies of scale by combining travel. You can receive more for your money from travel suppliers if you can measure overall travel across several divisions or locations.
This will enable you to get more out of airline soft dollar programs, such as more free tickets and upgrades, a bigger percentage discount from our recommended airline, and better-negotiated hotel and vehicle prices. Your fulfillment expenses will also drop since your travel agency will frequently give you a discount for a larger overall volume of trips.
3. A combination of online booking and one-on-one service
This is a supplement to the preceding part, which advocates for consolidating travel via a single travel agency. This is vital, but you don’t have to force tourists to use an online booking system, and you don’t have to force them to phone the agency directly to do so as per the corporate travel program.
You accomplish multiple things by giving tourists the choice of doing either. You will save money on fulfillment since online booking has a lower service fee. Giving passengers the option gives them a sense of control, which boosts morale and increases the likelihood of a high adoption rate.
Finally, you leave open a best practice of using your online booking engine for less complex itineraries while booking senior executives, frequent travelers, and complex itineraries directly with a travel agent who can provide a higher level of service and a better overall travel experience where it is most warranted.
4. Look beneath each stone
While the majority of travel budgets are focused on the air budget, there are numerous additional areas to look at for cost reductions. In the corporate travel program, there are a few more apparent places to explore, such as negotiated hotel prices at your favorite hotels or auto rental savings from a preferred provider. Because of consortia ties and agency vehicle contracts, your travel agency may already have discounted prices. There are a few less popular topics that should be looked at as well.
If ground transportation is an issue, for example, most providers will offer lower prices and the option of direct invoicing. Direct billing agreements with hotels and vehicle rental firms are another excellent option to boost efficiency and make the accounting department’s job easier.
5. Leverage hard and soft currency contracts
In exchange for business loyalty to their product, most major airlines now give hard money savings as well as soft dollar incentives. In exchange for a market share pledge, you may get a discount on the lowest tickets of your preferred carrier if your travel program exceeds $1 million in air spending.
You can enroll in soft dollar programs for free tickets and upgrades, as well as traveler status improvements and airport club passes, for your secondary carriers or if your volume is less than the minimum requested by the airline. These programs demand little in the way of volume, but they aren’t well advertised, so you may have to look for them or contact Baker Travel or your present agency for help.
6. Don’t overlook the size of the hotel
The volume of a hotel is sometimes ignored, but it should not be. You can get discounted prices through your travel agent or directly from the hotel properties of your choosing. In exchange for a minimum room/night commitment, individual hotels near business offices will negotiate lower prices for you. When you book through a travel agency, you can expect to save anywhere from 5% to 50% on hundreds of hotels across the world in the corporate travel program.
7. Have at least one rental vehicle agreement
Rental car contracts are simple to engage in and involve a minimal commitment on the part of the company. Choose a partner with airport locations and a good customer service record. You may easily save 5-10 percent by negotiating frequent renter membership for all of your staff. This will improve their efficiency and morale. You may also sign direct billing arrangements at the same time, which will make your travelers’ and accounting staff’s tasks much easier.
8. Comprehend group and meeting agreements
When you have a group traveling together or meeting at a single destination from several points of origin, airlines and hotels will reduce your tickets and rates. These meeting contracts can result in airfare reductions of 2-10%, and if you have a large group traveling on a single airline, you may be able to bargain for complimentary tickets to be granted at the end of the contract.
Usually, a minimum of ten people traveling to the same location at the same time is required. Some airlines have greater minimums, so make sure to inquire before signing a contract. With a minimum of 10 room nights, hotels will provide a comparable discount. Depending on the occupancy rate and seasonal variations, these reductions might vary from 10% to significantly greater savings.
9. Use reports to enhance metrics on a regular basis
To be fully exploited, well-managed travel programs need regular monitoring and financial controls in the corporate travel program. Demand timely and customizable reports that may be tailored to provide you with the information you want. You will be in a better position to satisfy contract requirements, achieve cost reduction targets, and determine where future savings potential may lie if you receive frequent information on traveler behavior and provider contract performance.
10. Make every effort to improve traveler comfort and efficiency
Finally, every well-managed travel program would consider the comfort and productivity of its participants. When passengers feel at ease, they can concentrate on their core goals, which can help your company grow. When tourists are content, they perform better.
Inquire whether your travel agent may upgrade you to a favored airline’s passenger status. Consider getting a block of airport club passes to utilize strategically for lengthy and complicated journeys. Travelers can be rewarded in a variety of ways for the laborious and often arduous task of traveling. These kinds of incentives foster loyalty as well as greater production and efficiency in the corporate travel program.
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