The MacNair Travel Leadership Blog

5 Signs Your Travel Management Program Is Failing

Posted by Mike MacNair on May 3, 2016 12:00:00 PM
5 Signs Your Travel Management Program Is FailingHow long has it been since you last assessed your travel program? If you’re like a lot of SME’s, it’s been a few years, which means there is likely room to improve costs, control, compliance and your overall operational efficiency.

You’re probably aware that T&E can be the second largest line item in your budget. You’re probably also aware that there are unaccounted-for gaps. Maybe you have “rogue” travelers who insist on doing things their way. Or your team is losing productivity (and increasing costs) by handling their own bookings.

When you review your travel management program, you’ll uncover ways to significantly impact costs and productivity. You can use our diagnostic scorecard to help you assess.

Here are 5 Considerations to Keep in Mind As You Assess Your Travel Program:

1. Have You Reviewed Your Preferred Suppliers Recently?

Are your airlines, hotel, car rentals, etc. providing you the discounts and/or enhanced services that both control your costs and meet your travelers’ needs?

Some companies are incorporating Uber, Lyft, and AirBnb into their travel policies because they reflect today’s travel realities. If your travel team wants the convenience of these newer options, it’s important to outline how and when they’re to be used in your travel policy.

Additionally, your travel policy will need clear safety guidelines and a backup plan for your travelers in case they end up in an untenable situation. Imagine if they book an AirBnb and arrive there to find it’s in a dangerous neighborhood, what should your traveler do then?

2. What Are Your Benchmarks for Ensuring You’re Getting the Best Value for Your Travel and Entertainment Dollars?

Leveraging large numbers is the traditional method of securing great rates. That’s one of the benefits of working with a TMC (travel management company.) They understand what’s available, the rates other companies are getting and have the numbers to help you negotiate a better rate for your airline, car rental and hotel rates.

Of course, other benchmarks could include increased productivity in your employees by streamlining their travel arrangements and guiding them to the best available options.

We’ve been able to reduce some travel budgets (and guide implementation) by as much as $250,000 in certain organizations. It’s likely that your company can benefit from reviewing your benchmarks and making sure everyone is onboard with them.

3. Are your T&E Expenditures Easy to Secure No Matter the Booking Source?

In other words, are you able keep up with what’s being spent and by whom? Do they integrate well with your financial systems and share useful insights so you have increased operational efficiency?

Many organizations find they have tremendous gaps in their data. If you’re still relying on your travelers to book their travel and bring back paper receipts to reconcile for reimbursement, that’s lost productivity and the potential for lost data. Closing such gaps can recover thousands of dollars.

4. Is Your Automated Pre-Trip Approval Process Effective and Easy to Use?

Does it also make it easy for travelers to be in compliance with your existing travel policy?

Today’s technology like virtual prepayment systems make it easy for some of your vendors to be prepaid and protect against fraud. This is convenient for your travelers as they don’t have to keep up with receipts for reimbursement and it helps them stay in compliance with your travel policy.

5. Do You Have the Appropriate Insurances for Your Travelers?

Does your travel management program address what to do in case of political upheaval or terrorism? These are unfortunate realities in today’s world. As part of your duty of care, it’s important to have systems in place so your employees know whom to call if they need assistance.

As you can see, there are many things to think about as you review your travel policy. It’s likely that one or more of these elements are not as effective as they could be. Which do you feel are the biggest concerns for your organization?

Measure your agreement or disagreement with these and 5 other considerations by downloading our Diagnostic Scorecard.

Travel-Management-Diagnostic-Scorecard

Topics: Travel Program