Elements of a strong corporate travel program

To make the most of your business budget, it's absolutely essential to plan the program for everything that's worth it. Telling passengers to choose the lowest logical ticket is not enough. Here are the elements that you should consider when planning or evaluating the travel program.

1. Travel Policy

A well-written and expanded travel policy is the foundation of any good travel program and I am always surprised that so many companies have such an outdated and ill-conceived travel policy at all. It's not hard to find a well-written policy. One can be found online relatively easily. The only thing left is that it is adjusted to reflect corporate culture and spread within society so everyone understands and agrees to follow it. For this reason, it is good for everyone to sign a copy of the travel policy to make sure it is legible, comprehensible, and owned by all employees of the company. I suggest that everyone in the company sign a copy of travel policy, whether traveling or not. They can later change their position later in the company and have to ride. Travel policy may not be long or complicated. Some of the best travel policies I've ever seen are just a few pages.

2. Central travel inside and out

Many companies are not centralizing their travel program and pay the price when it comes to opportunities to reduce cost and internal efficiency. Many companies that do not have centralized travel are afraid of requiring passengers something they may not want to do along with the idea that Central Travel requires a Travel Manager loan. Both of these may be legitimate concerns, but may not be in most cases. Asking passengers to book centrally does not necessarily cause their loss of flexibility. You can travel centrally, while you can book your passengers yourself, either with a travel agent of your choice, or through a provider you have joined and trust. By assigning someone who is responsible for travel supervision, you are getting a single contact point, both internally and externally, for travel questions. If your company spends less than $ 1 million in air travel, you probably do not need a full-time manager. In these cases, the supervision of the financial department can be provided by the finance department, human resources or even by an executive level assistant. Here is a look at the benefits to be gained by centralizing travel.

When you centralize travel with one agency, you get a number of important ways. You will have a single point of contact for problems while passengers are on the road, and you will have one entity to go for all your travel needs. This eliminates the problem of consolidating a travel report between several sources. By traveling together, you get economies of scale. If you can measure total travel between different divisions or places, you can get more money from travel providers. This will allow you to get more of the airline's soft dollar programs, which means more free tickets and upgrades, you get a higher percentage discount from our preferred airline and get better negotiated rates from the hotel and car contracts. Your cost of performance will also be reduced as your travel agent often dares to pay for higher total traffic.

3. Combining on-line reservation and personal service

This is an addition to the previous element that requires central travel with one travel agency. This is important, but you do not need to require travelers to use the online booking system, and you do not have to ask travelers to contact the agency directly. By offering passengers the opportunity to act, you will accomplish several goals. You will reduce your delivery costs because online booking is cheaper in terms of service fee. By giving passengers the option of giving them control, you increase morale and you have a better chance of a high degree of adoption. Thirdly, you will leave an open, proven practice of using your online reservation system for less complex itineraries, allowing managers, frequent travelers and complex itineraries to be booked directly at a travel agency that can offer a higher level of service and a better overall travel experience where it is best suited.

4. Look under each stone

While most travel programs revolve around the air travel budget, there are several other areas that can be explored to find savings options. There are several more distinct areas, such as an agreed hotel rate at your favorite hotels, or discounts on renting a car with a preferential supplier. Your travel agency will often have discounted rates through consortia and contracting agencies. There are also some less common areas that should be explored. For example, in the case of land transport, most suppliers offer discounted rates and the possibility of direct billing. Direct billing agreements with hotels and car rentals are also a great way to increase efficiency and ease the work of the accounting department.

5. Most major airlines now offer tough dollar discounts and soft dollar incentives in exchange for the loyalty of their products. If your travel program exceeds $ 1 million, you can get a discount on the lowest rates of your free carrier in exchange for a market share commitment. For your secondary carriers or if your volume is lower than the minimum required by the airline, you can enter soft soft dollars for free and improve your ticket free of charge as well as improved passenger status or airport club flight. These programs require little volume but are not very popular, so you may have to search or ask Baker Travel or your current agency to point you in the right direction.

6. We do not leave hotel volume

The hotel volume is sometimes overlooked but should not be. Negotiated rates can be made via your travel agency or directly with hotel properties of your choice. Individual hotels near business locations negotiate discounts for you in exchange for a minimum room / night commitment. If you are using a travel agency, you will probably have discounts of 5 to 50% on thousands of hotels around the world.

7. You have at least one car rental contract

Vehicle rental agreements are easy to conclude and require little commitment from the company. Choose a partner who has a location at the airport and a reputation for excellent customer service. You can save 5-10% very easily and you can also negotiate frequent tenant membership for all your employees. This will make it more effective and strengthen morality. You can also enter into direct payment agreements at the same time, which can make the work of your passengers and accountants much less stressful

8. Understanding Groups and Meeting Agreements

Airlines and hotels will have discounts on your fares and rates if you have groups traveling together or meet on a single destination from several places of origin. These contracts can give you 2% to 10% discounts on tickets, and if you have enough passengers on a single airline, you may be able to negotiate free tickets to be awarded at the end of the contract. The minimum requirement is usually 10 passengers who go to the same place at the same time. Some airlines have higher minimums, so be sure to ask before the contract is concluded. Hotels will lower their rates in a similar way with a minimum of 10 nights. These discounts can range from 10% to a much higher discount depending on occupancy and seasonal variations.

9. Using Reporting for Comprehensive Improvement of Metrics

Well-managed travel programs require continuous monitoring and financial controls to be properly used. Keep up with timely and customized reviews that can be designed to bring you the most needed information. By receiving regular reports on passenger behavior and compliance with a service provider agreement, you will have a better way to meet contractual obligations, achieve cost reduction goals, and find out where opportunities for future savings may exist

10. Use all the ways to increase the comfort and efficiency of travelers

Finally, each well-managed travel program will take into account the comfort and productivity of your passengers. When the passengers are comfortable, they can focus on their main priorities, which help boost your business forward. If travelers are satisfied, they are at a higher level. Ask if your travel agent can upgrade the status of a traveler to a preferred airline. Take a look at the shopping blocks of airport club passes so they can be used strategically on long and complicated routes. There are many ways to reward travelers for difficult and often exhausting work. These types of rewards create feelings of loyalty and increase productivity and efficiency.

Contact me if you want to know more about how your company can better use your travel program to benefit from your bottom line and the satisfaction of your executive level. I'm glad to show you in the right direction.