“Begin with the end in mind” is one of the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. This should be the mantra for any major initiative. In travel procurement we often run into organizations who focus on managing travel (the line item) because the buyer of travel is driving the decisions. That person is often the Travel Manager, CFO, or similar. In other instances the decision of what to do (or more often what not to do) is based on the end user, or the travelers. In my experience exponential value is created when we are working with an organization trying to find the ying and yang (balance) between benefits that the organization should want and expect in managing T&E, and benefits that travelers should want and expect. Make sure you know what both sides can expect and add that to what you should expect to determine your goals and objectives with balance and consideration for both sides. It’s a good time for an assessment for the coming year. Then in understanding the potential and this desire for balance, filter requests and comments through these objectives before making any decisions. Here are some examples:
- Supplier display and speed - Many public travel sites recognize what the traveler has bought before and limit the display to what the traveler is likely to buy again. That’s a happier and quicker experience for the traveler, but does your organization want the buying decision to be strictly the preference of the traveler or the best available unbiased options every time?
- Traveler Tracking- I have heard travelers say that they don’t really want people to know where they are all the time. I have seen lawyers for companies explain that knowing where their travelers are all the time is a corporate responsibility.
- User interface- Many times advertisements for cruises, tours, packages, offers, and other products make sites look more exciting and user friendly, but are these advertisements simply distractions to your corporate travel policies? Yeah sure business travel buying technologies do need some updating but so does your CRM and ERP. These are all tools focusing on the job at hand versus an experience. What is important?
- Supplier preference- Is it the travelers preference that is the driver or the organization’s preference for the greater good of all that should be driver of the buying decision?
As in anything balance is required.