The MacNair Travel Leadership Blog

7 Questions to Ask Before you Loosen the Reigns on Travel

Posted by Mike MacNair on Jan 22, 2015 11:33:00 AM

Travel__managementThere has been buzz recently in the world of corporate travel management. Studies show that more employees are “going rogue”. And while travel managers know this isn’t a good thing, they often lack the data to make the case for a more managed program. Millennial workers spend more freely and travel spend is a costly line item. Should you let them spend freely or not? Adopting a completely ‘unmanaged’ travel policy can be fiscally irresponsible as major value can be found in managed travel solutions: negotiated rates, duty of care, customer service, policy enforcement delivering better value, and data aggregation speeding reimbursement. Before you consider loosening the reigns, here are seven things to ask:

  1. What is your company culture on the subject of the procurement of anything? From travel to computers to office suppliers. Do you let people do whatever they want?

  2. Do your employees already do a good job managing their travel? Most companies I visit who don’t manage travel well don’t know this answer. Comparing your results against national averages or other companies like yours or even comparing the results of those inside and outside your travel procurement system can help determine the opportunity to make a systemic change or not.

  3. Does your travel volume justify preferred supplier agreements that can be leveraged for air, hotel, car and more? You may be leaving substantial dollars on the table by not having such a program.

  4. Have you evaluated the risks of not knowing where all of your people are at all times and not having support systems in place to ensure a level of “duty of care”? You want to keep all of your people safe from medical, security, legal, reputational and travel risk.

  5. Do your employees very clearly understand what the best value means to your company - or just themselves? Clarifying what the best value means makes a big difference. It may also vary per project they are working on. The best nonstop, best price out of their favorite airport, best value on their favorite airline, etc. Defining these expectations with reasonable thresholds in your travel policy makes a big difference.

  6. Does booking outside of a TMC cost your company more time to process expenses, budget, reconcile the credit card, get reimbursed etc.? Consider all of the costs.

  7. What is the cost of change? Business trips change often; personal trips do not. When changes happen, employees may have to spend more time away from their real duties getting routed or changed, change fees and cancellation costs unnecessarily appear in your budget, delays and changes make your people less productive at work as they arrive late for meetings. The right support could improve productivity of those traveling. 

Many times travelers don’t see the value of your system to manage travel. Defining what it should be and reporting the opportunities and results can justify such a process