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?
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:
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.
Topics: travel technology
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.
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.
Can you easily consolidate your corporate travel data? For most companies, the answer is “no.” In order to manage your travel data, you must know your travel volume, your preferred supplier rates, the ratio of travel compliance within your company and many other elements. It is simply not easy to control your corporate travel data if you do not have the right information at your fingertips.
As CFO, you know that if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. Corporate travel can be complex and difficult to oversee without the right processes and tools. Fortunately, there are new tools that can aggregate your travel data into easily digestible reports to help guide and measure your travel policy and procedures.
With a rules-based booking program, like Concur Travel, you can manage your corporate travel data with set parameters that align with your business requirements. When you have visibility into your travel data, you are in a better position to control overall program costs. It requires a powerful solution to manage the wide variety of travel options, and these three tips should help streamline the process:
The importance of benchmarking cannot be overstated. Goals that include realistic key performance indicators (KPIs) and strategic metrics are now commonplace within sales, finance, operations and procurement departments. Your corporate travel program or travel department should also research peer companies and identify benchmarks that align with your industry’s performance in order to set realistic KPIs and goals for travel savings and policy compliance. Most often a travel management company partner can help you identify this information and establish some key metrics to benchmark your program against.
Developing accurate and relevant benchmarks can be challenging – especially if you’ve not previously tracked specific results for your travel program. The following five benchmarking tips will provide control and visibility into your corporate travel program, resulting in major savings.
In today’s data-driven world, companies have access to all types of valuable traveler data: from personal information to preferred airlines and hotels. Travel managers can see employee preferences for travel times, direct or indirect flights, and seat choices. By analyzing credit card usage, it is easy to discover where and when travelers ordered meals or if they watched a movie on the plane.
But what do you do with all of this data? Share it! By disseminating travel data among different business groups in your organization, your managed travel program gains visibility. Turning raw travel data into valuable information can help travel managers improve the travel policy, track traveler compliance and help in budget forecasting.
Understanding the key differences between unmanaged travel vs. managed travel can help organizations objectively and accurately determine opportunities for process improvements that can improve their bottom line. The table below compares an unmanaged travel program to a managed one, broken down in to nine phases: starting with (1) Policy and Procedure Development and ending with (9) Reviewing and Refining the overall program.
With sustained success in the consumer sector, sharing economy companies like Airbnb, Lyft, Curb and Uber, have committed to provide corporate travelers the same level of convenience as standard hotel and transportation suppliers, at a reduced cost. In July 2014, Airbnb for Business was launched, offering 500,000 listings (of 800,000) that it considers appropriate for corporate travelers. That same year, Uber announced a customized service for corporate travelers.
Travel Leadership Blog
Travel and expense management is a key leverage point to enhance productivity & control costs. Join us here as we share best practices, stories, insights and tools to help you manage your travel more effectively.