An Evolving Role of a Travel Manager on a Shrinking Travel Budget

» Posted by on Jan 4, 2014 in Industry Postings, Payment Methods, Travel Professional Resources, White Papers | 0 comments

Back in the days, you will say, we are in the airline business, being politically correct now you will have to say, we are in the transportation business. Because transportation – not airline and aircraft – is what the customer buys. The Travel Manager’s role in these specialized environments varies and keeps on evolving. In this day and age, to capture Travel and Expense data will need all the tools to generate reports from the system to assist Travel Managers to understand how travel is purchased and managed. With the right integration of tools, Travel Managers will make important choices of how to use their travel budget wisely. The new age of data aggregation is Travel Manager’s best friend. On my “Seize to Spend” forum paper under Business Data Mining, I mentioned that if 75% of Travel and Expense spending on a corporate card is captured, that is good but not excellent. So, our best bet is to mandate a very strong travel policy that the organization will embrace. A travel policy that will highlight the savings and not overall travel benefits of education. Little things mean a lot like paying attention to details just as much as focusing on the grand strategies. With a solid plan in place that aims to build enthusiasm and support among colleagues and department’s needs, it will eventually tackle thorny management issues. Optimizing travel budget is a combination of having the right policies, procedures and contracts in place in equipping travelers with the necessary tools to make optimal spending decision and channel business to preferred suppliers. A policy that will introduce travelers to use one tool as the intermediary to integrate data. This might seem the same as cost savings but it s more than that – it is more effective spending. The maximum use of Travel Management Center’s capability to produce aggregated data will support “goal to understand the expenses”.

The Importance of Training and Communication
Talk about cost savings, cost avoidance propose what is going to positively improve the existing situation. Communication should be heavy in the initial stages of expanding a program. And you should maintain an ongoing schedule of outreach for each year thereafter, taking into account that, down the line, your company or organization will hire new employees who will need to be educated about your global travel and meetings policies and programs. To stay current, always designate a time to update policies and procedure. Another best practice, if your policy is linked with other departments like finance, HR. legal and others, make sure that whenever you update your policy, their policies are current as well, including intranet links to policy information. Continuously communicate the benefits the T&E program brings to all stakeholders. Emphasizes the enhanced safety and security aspect that the T&E card usage brings in cases of crisis management, as well as the savings accrued to the company and travelers. All these are related to everyone that attends our “Travel and Reimbursement Training” given every other month to Travel Planners and IBA card holders.

Use providers’ analytic tools and consultative services
When Travel Managers partner with vendors or suppliers, they can reduce costs. For many large organizations, developing partnership with major travel management companies to seek a package of combined services that is the most bottom line friendly will reap the benefits for all not to mention the aggregated data that can be captured from one source. Travel Managers need to make the value tangible. By tracking spend and taking advantage of new strategies and tools companies can almost always identify new opportunities to drive savings in order to get the most from the allotted shrinking travel budget, in other words optimize the profitability of the budget.

Use of Meeting Technology
Having the tools that support reduce cost and set new standards of efficiency.

  1. Streamlining sourcing and procurement with mandated request  for proposal
  2. Centralizing budgeting and planning
  3. Tightening the meeting and approval process
  4. Creating an strengthening policy using preferred suppliers
  5. Facilitating comprehensive data analysis, reporting ad applying formal ROI metrics
  6. Tighten control cost

Manage Common Source of Waste
• Unused Plane Tickets
Many companies don’t take advantage of unused train and plane tickets, effectively throwing away money when travelers change flights or travel plans. With most contracts allowing unused tickets to be redeemed it is an essential area that companies should be managing to get the most from the budget. Refundable tickets often are credited back to the original form of payment while non refundable tickets are calculated and the residual value information is recorded for future use. Unused tickets can also be eligible for name changes, which help to reduce unused ticket liability. Having a solution to track unused tickets and their associated costs is the key for capturing holistic travel spend and to create savings-savings that can be applied to more travel.
• Incorrectly priced hotel rooms
Another opportunity to find savings is created through discrepancies between hotel rates loaded in global distribution systems and negotiated corporate rates. This rate differences often go unnoticed, resulting in higher cost for rooms and potentially the failure of negotiated amenities to be included within the cost. Travel Managers and travelers need to be able to identify discrepancies between negotiated corporate discounts and GDS-loaded hotel rates. Once identified, companies should share the data with hotels, which are able to make any necessary corrections. Addressing price inconsistencies is a direct way to achieve greater savings and get the most out of hotel programs.
• Airfares
Currency fluctuations, pricing structures and stopover restrictions are major reasons that create huge differences in total airfare. The strength of Asian and emerging economies in a globally uneven recovery has translated to an increase in complex multi-country trips.
When booking complex international trips it is crucial to contact an expert who can help spot savings and profits tangled in the major reasons mentioned above. Having someone who can understand and work around these points can generate significant savings without reducing or sacrificing travel.
Is it even possible for a travel manager to address these dueling objectives successfully?
The answer is YES!

By: Joy Borja
Disclaimer: The contents of this message are mine personally and do not reflect any position of the Government or my agency

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