In the current travel management environment our customers have both online and call in access to reservations. What we often find with our smaller accounts is that few clear programmable policy rules direct travelers to what the company believes is the best value. In some instances policy is unclear and as a result rules can’t be established, in some instances the requested rules are complicated and can’t be programmed, or in many instances there aren’t very many rules at all. For larger corporate customers, the opportunities inspire complications in policies that make launching and managing to expectations hard for the travel manager and complicated for travelers. Why wouldn’t travelers then want to book outside of your travel procurement process if it’s complicated? We have found that clean, simple, and easy systems that leverage these rules if they are going to deliver a real result is the best methodology.
Following are the top ten rules that systems like GetThere and Concur can enforce and theactions that can take place to enforce these rules are below them. Mid-office technology and automated pre-trip approval systems can be leveraged to enforce more rules in a few different ways but at the front line of policy enforcement these are the key categories to consider. Because these are easily programmed into online tools, they too can be easily enforced for call in reservations. They are the basis of good travel policy overall and should be addressed.
- Vendor preference rules - Encourage or block vendors. They can be set to only allow a special airline to be used when traveling from point A to point B. Example: you may choose to push only one NY-WAS shuttle airline. Preferential displays can be set for air, car, and hotel.
- Class of service rules - Remove a class of service like business class or allow business class only for flights over a certain amount of hours.
- Change ticketed flight rules - Direct travelers to call for changes or requires use of a personal credit card.
- Complete itinerary rules - Require an air, hotel, and/or car booking or any combination with every reservation.
- Advance purchase rules – Demand travelers to book at least a certain amount of days in advance or action* is required.
- Data requirement rules - Ensure the inclusion of a department or other codes with every reservation.
- Tiered policy rules – Establish rules by employee tier. Example: staff can only book coach; VIPs can book business class or whatever they want.
- Maximum airfare rules – Enforce one or both of the following, or one of the action* items below transpires.
- Dollar Amount = a pre-determined dollar amount (i.e. $500.00) that any itinerary booked cannot exceed or action* is required.
- Threshold Policy= a fare selected over the lowest fare + the allowed threshold (i.e. $100.00) requires action*.
3 ACTION categories are available to choose from and pop up boxes can direct travelers to the action desired:
- Hard stop= not allowed to book outside of policy options; no exceptions and/or approvals for either booking method.
- Soft booking = Allow booking with warnings that ticket cannot be issued without approval. Approval paths and responsibilities are then defined. If no approval response is received by the ticketing timeline or if the approval has been denied a new compliant trip must be booked.
- FYI = send a notification at time of booking of the non-compliant itinerary, but NO approval required.
Where this gets complicated is when you sum up the different rules and paths this could take. In these instances it can get cumbersome for all involved. While it’s important to consider and address these items, we have found that if you start small, consider the real results of these rules, keep only the most effective, and watch the data, the impact of your travel management system will improve.