The MacNair Travel Leadership Blog

The Disconnect Between Policy and Travelers and What to do About it

Posted by Mike MacNair on Jan 19, 2017 12:00:00 PM

According to a recent study conducted by GBTA Foundation and HRS, most travelers believe that they are familiar with and understand their company’s travel policy. In fact, their research indicated that 96 percent of North American business travelers say they are knowledgeable about their company's travel policies and 79 percent of travelers say that company policy has the greatest impact on their travel decision-making. Yet, the high number of rogue travelers booking outside of corporate policy does not support these numbers.

What is the cause of this disconnect between wanting to follow corporate policy, but not? According to the whitepaper, “Travel Policy Communication: Understanding Disconnects and Increasing Compliance,” it is suggested that “perception is more important than reality” when it comes to corporate travel policy.

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Topics: travel policy, Compliance

Travel Safety in 2017: Traveler Tracking Expands

Posted by Mike MacNair on Jan 12, 2017 12:00:00 PM

Many travelers, especial those traveling abroad, are exposed to dangerous risks to their safety and well-being. Hardly a year goes by without hearing about a natural disaster, public unrest, act of terrorism, or outbreak of an infectious disease – all of which directly impact travelers.

2016 was an especially tumultuous year when terrorists struck targets throughout Europe, in areas that had previously been considered safe. In December of 2016, 12 people were killed and 56 injured at a Christmas market in Berlin. Airports in Brussels and Turkey were the site of deadly bombings. An explosion at a check-in-area of Shanghai's main international airport injured four people. In the first week of 2017, a mass shooting at a Fort Lauderdale airport left five people dead.

In a recent study conducted by the education and research arm of the Global Business Travel Association in partnership with AIG Travel, an overwhelming majority of employers ranked traveler safety as a major concern. The report is based on an online survey of 167 travel managers in the U.S. and Canada. The study reported that 95 percent of travel professionals feel that providing insurance or assistance services to employees is valuable for international trips; and 76 percent agreed both are valuable for domestic trips as well.

Yet, per the same study, only 41 percent of employers offer risk management training and 26 percent offer GPS tracking of travelers. Those numbers are expected to expand quickly in 2017.

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Topics: Traveler Tracking

The Challenges of Supplier-Direct Booking for Managed Travel Programs

Posted by Mike MacNair on Jan 5, 2017 12:00:00 PM

Motivation for travelers to book direct with suppliers is on the rise, creating unique challenges for managed travel programs. Travel suppliers, especially hotels, are making a concerted effort to cut out middlemen by re-launching loyalty programs and adding incentives to entice business travelers to book directly with them – thus bypassing corporate travel policy.

With non-compliant bookings, the tangible benefits of corporate travel policies and programs are diminished. When travelers do not use preferred suppliers, or take advantage of negotiated rates and perks by using the company’s approved online booking tool (OBT), the company loses its ability to leverage volume for future negotiations towards discounted rates.

Not only are organizations hamstrung in negotiations, but supplier-direct booking also impacts the ability of travel managers to track down, locate and contact their travelers in the event of an emergency. As a result, travel managers must re-think policies and discover new ways to account for travelers who bypass approved booking methods.

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Topics: TMc, travel policy, Managed Travel, Travel Management Company, Supplier Direct Booking, Compliance

Best Practices for Benchmarking Your Travel Program

Posted by Mike MacNair on Dec 29, 2016 12:00:00 PM

Travel and Expense (T&E) budgets represent the second largest controllable cost for most organizations. Improving your managed travel program offers a huge opportunity to enhance your company’s bottom line and overall financial wellbeing. One of the most effective ways to accomplish that is through the process of benchmarking. For managed travel, the benchmarking process will compare key components of your travel processes (identified by you) against similarly sized organizations.

When you compare your managed travel program against companies with excellent managed travel programs in place, you will understand your strengths and weaknesses. In addition, any areas that require additional attention are identified so that they can be studied, analyzed and eventually improved by adopting best practices and implementing the results.

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Topics: travel policy, Benchmarking, Travel Data

Managed Travel Program Trends for 2017

Posted by Mike MacNair on Dec 22, 2016 12:00:00 PM

As a travel manager, you are likely pulled in multiple directions as you handle various aspects of the travel program that impact your travelers, finance team and organization writ large. While this may not be anything new, some of the trends expected in managed travel for 2017 are, and will continue to modernize the face of business travel.

While travel costs look like they will remain flat or only slightly increase in 2017, the election could prove positive for the economy. Being ready to take advantage of an uptick in business could be vital to a successful managed travel program in the upcoming year.

Here are some business travel trends to watch for as 2017 quickly approaches:

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Topics: Travel Trends

[INFOGRAPHIC] How to Build a Successful RFP for Travel Services

Posted by Mike MacNair on Dec 15, 2016 12:00:00 PM

The RFPs that come across our desks are often template-based and describe common program objectives such as: save money, enhance productivity, improve control, increase online adoption, automate reporting, etc. The average RFP fails to address the specific steps the organization needs to take to achieve each objective. In addition, most organizations going out to RFP don’t know the underlying contributing factors to their program’s main challenges, so they struggle to define the solution they seek from a TMC. If you don’t know what your problem is, how can you expect to solve it?

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Topics: Request For Proposal, RFP

Travel Reporting Objectives for the Data-Driven Travel Manager

Posted by Mike MacNair on Dec 8, 2016 12:00:00 PM

According to research from the Aberdeen Group, 51% of companies cited a lack of visibility into travel spend as their top T&E management challenge. If you are like most organizations, the amount of spend related to travel is huge. In fact, travel is considered to be the second largest controllable business expense. With that in mind, do you feel like you have control over your company’s travel expenses?

A comprehensive and flexible travel management reporting system can provide travel managers the view they need to effectively monitor performance indicators, identify travel patterns and track spending in granular detail. A powerful reporting tool will consolidate travel data in real-time so managers have quick access to accurate information. The more accurate your travel activity data, the more empowered you are to manage travel behavior, track cost savings and enforce policy.

When evaluating a reporting system that is best suited to your unique business situation, consider these features and travel reporting objectives:

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Topics: Travel Data, Travel Reporting

Mobile Technologies for Travel Booking and Itinerary Management

Posted by Mike MacNair on Dec 1, 2016 12:00:00 PM

Mobile technology has revolutionized the way business travelers book and manage work-related trips. Mobile devices have made it convenient for travelers to check flight statuses, adjust schedules, generate online boarding passes, book hotels and arrange for rental cars on the fly. With over 500 free travel-related apps available on the Google Play Store, what is convenient for travelers can cause chaos for travel managers – unless mobile apps are addressed in your corporate travel policy.

New research from the Global Business Travel Association, states that some of the least popular activities for travelers include managing expenses and itineraries. In response, travel managers must create tougher travel policies to ensure travel and expense (T&E) budgets stay in line and remain compliant.

Most companies don’t require or recommend travel apps. Less than one-fifth of U.S. companies say their organization has specific apps they require business travelers to use. However, with more and more road warriors relying on mobile devices, travel managers must address how mobile technology will shape the business travel experience. Below are some important considerations for travel managers to be aware of, regarding how mobile technology will fit in with their corporate travel policy.

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Topics: travel technology

Ancillary Fees and Beyond: Cut Costs with a TMC

Posted by Mike MacNair on Nov 22, 2016 12:00:00 PM

Ancillary fees can have a significant impact on your travel budget. As airlines continue to charge for services that were once provided at no cost, the task of tracking various ancillary fees for air travel becomes a complex challenge for Chief Finance Officers (CFOs).

However, these costs can be controlled when CFOs thoroughly track and assess all data related to ancillary fees previously incurred by your travelers. This information will contribute to a travel policy that makes sense for your business, while providing clear guidelines and flexibility to your travelers.

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Topics: Travel Management, Ancillary Fees, CFO, TMc, Travel Management Company

What Do Nonrefundable Airline Tickets Mean for Travelers?

Posted by Mike MacNair on Nov 15, 2016 12:00:00 PM

Travelers often wonder what the exact terms and stipulations are when it comes to "nonrefundable" airline tickets. First, let’s quickly define the word nonrefundable. The Macmillan dictionary states: if the money that you pay for something is nonrefundable, it will not be given back to you, such as a nonrefundable deposit or ticket. In general terms, that definitely rings true for the airline industry. A nonrefundable airline ticket means that if you must cancel or change your flight, you will not get your money back.

So why would travelers opt for nonrefundable tickets? It all comes down to price. Airlines claim that nonrefundable tickets keep the cost of airfare affordable. And they’re right. Flexible fares (also called full coach or 'y' fare tickets) are fares that allow travelers to change their ticket once the booking is made. But with the accommodation, such as modifying flight dates, flexible tickets come at a premium. Flexible fares can cost double, triple and sometimes even quadruple that of a nonrefundable fare.

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Topics: TMc, Airline Tickets

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