Millennials often shun the concept of a centralized managed travel system. They have come to learn that they know a lot more about technology than many of their more senior associates managing line items like this and they think that simply by technology access they can do it better. Most claim they are doing it to save money but more often than not proof of that result is not always available to those who hope to keep an eye on this significant line item. I would also mention that for years travelers have claimed they could do it better themselves even when they had to call multiple airlines. In every analysis I have been involved in the results didn’t prove these travelers right because many had their own idea of what the best value was (many times that perception involved their preferred suppliers and not the company’s). Do not get me wrong, their intent was not malicious but they many times end up feeling complacent with going to their go to suppliers and they did not always consider all the options in an unbiased way. This has been my experience, anyway. There are six ways to evaluate and assess these rogue claims to determine the CBA of this behavior.
- Benchmark. Compare the rogue average airline ticket, hotel, and car spend over the course of the year to those that are complying. There are ways to capture rogue and complaint traveler data these data via expense reports, card data and more.
- Bias. Run a report of spend by traveler and look for supplier consistencies. Are they always on American? Does it seem their hotel selection complies with policy?
- Policy compliance. Look at how you define value in your travel policy and what travelers should select in your policy to determine if even when they book outside your system they are making good selections.
- Cancellation cost. Check to see how many trips these travelers cancel and if they are using up their unused non refundable tickets or if they are incurring hotel or car cancellation charges at rates over and above the others.
- Deals. Asses the volume of spend you are investing in different suppliers and ensure you couldn’t be securing a discount or benefit from these suppliers as a company by managing spend within your system. If you have deals like this you must consider what you may lose by not having travelers use these deals.
- Compliance/Legal. When people go rogue how do you know where they are and if they get hurt or make the wrong buying decisions would the law be by your side. A chat with you legal team may help clarify legal obligations and even business plan compliance obligations.
With these few consideration you can put a number on the cost benefit analysis of managed versus unmanaged travel and make the right decisions. In this life we all have to comply with many sensible rules for the greater good- taxes, health care requirements, traffic laws, workplace obligations, etc. Not everything can go rogue and in my experience and in most instances, T&E is not a place to go rogue and not only because of trip. It is not just about booking trips and it is also about managing travel – the line item.