The MacNair Travel Leadership Blog

Travel Policy Optimization = Effective Data Management

Posted by Mike MacNair on Feb 9, 2017 1:00:00 PM

You can’t manage what you can’t measure. Having access to reliable data is essential for controlling business travel, yet many CFOs do not pay the same amount of attention to this aspect of their business as other core areas of operation. This is a mistake.

Travel and Expense (T&E) budgets represent the second largest controllable cost for most organizations, typically coming in behind only payroll and rent. The benefits of analyzing travel data to identify gaps in efficiency are many. Travel data analysis can offer CFOs insights into company-wide travel spend and an accurate interpretation of this data can help control traveler’s choices and increase compliance. Yet research released by the GBTA Foundation – the education and research arm of the Global Business Travel Association – found that despite the demonstrated value of travel data, CFOs continue to struggle with deciphering travel data.

Why is travel data difficult to manage? It comes down to several root causes:

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Topics: travel policy, Managed Travel, Travel Data

The Disconnect Between Policy and Travelers and What to do About it

Posted by Mike MacNair on Jan 19, 2017 12:00:00 PM

According to a recent study conducted by GBTA Foundation and HRS, most travelers believe that they are familiar with and understand their company’s travel policy. In fact, their research indicated that 96 percent of North American business travelers say they are knowledgeable about their company's travel policies and 79 percent of travelers say that company policy has the greatest impact on their travel decision-making. Yet, the high number of rogue travelers booking outside of corporate policy does not support these numbers.

What is the cause of this disconnect between wanting to follow corporate policy, but not? According to the whitepaper, “Travel Policy Communication: Understanding Disconnects and Increasing Compliance,” it is suggested that “perception is more important than reality” when it comes to corporate travel policy.

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Topics: Compliance, travel policy

The Challenges of Supplier-Direct Booking for Managed Travel Programs

Posted by Mike MacNair on Jan 5, 2017 12:00:00 PM

Motivation for travelers to book direct with suppliers is on the rise, creating unique challenges for managed travel programs. Travel suppliers, especially hotels, are making a concerted effort to cut out middlemen by re-launching loyalty programs and adding incentives to entice business travelers to book directly with them – thus bypassing corporate travel policy.

With non-compliant bookings, the tangible benefits of corporate travel policies and programs are diminished. When travelers do not use preferred suppliers, or take advantage of negotiated rates and perks by using the company’s approved online booking tool (OBT), the company loses its ability to leverage volume for future negotiations towards discounted rates.

Not only are organizations hamstrung in negotiations, but supplier-direct booking also impacts the ability of travel managers to track down, locate and contact their travelers in the event of an emergency. As a result, travel managers must re-think policies and discover new ways to account for travelers who bypass approved booking methods.

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Topics: Supplier Direct Booking, Compliance, travel policy, TMc, Travel Management Company, Managed Travel

Best Practices for Benchmarking Your Travel Program

Posted by Mike MacNair on Dec 29, 2016 12:00:00 PM

Travel and Expense (T&E) budgets represent the second largest controllable cost for most organizations. Improving your managed travel program offers a huge opportunity to enhance your company’s bottom line and overall financial wellbeing. One of the most effective ways to accomplish that is through the process of benchmarking. For managed travel, the benchmarking process will compare key components of your travel processes (identified by you) against similarly sized organizations.

When you compare your managed travel program against companies with excellent managed travel programs in place, you will understand your strengths and weaknesses. In addition, any areas that require additional attention are identified so that they can be studied, analyzed and eventually improved by adopting best practices and implementing the results.

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Topics: Benchmarking, Travel Data, travel policy

How Well Does the Sharing Economy Work with Your Travel Policy?

Posted by Mike MacNair on Oct 6, 2016 12:00:00 PM

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.

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Topics: sharing economy, travel policy

Reduce Costs With an Intelligent Travel Policy

Posted by Mike MacNair on Sep 8, 2016 12:00:00 PM

Companies of all shapes and sizes and in all industries are under continued pressure to find ways to reduce their costs, while improving efficiencies, productivity and performance. It would seem that after surviving “the great recession,” organizations have already exhausted the most obvious cost cutting measures.

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Topics: travel policy

BTN’s Small/Midsize Enterprise Travel Management Report: Survey Recap

Posted by Mike MacNair on Aug 30, 2016 12:00:00 PM

As a Travel Management Company (TMC), we look for valuable information to share with our current and future customers that will help identify the key components of a successful travel management program. We do this while connecting the dots with corporate travel policies and benchmarking data that will ultimately lead our partners’ to success.

Recently, Business Travel News’ (BTN) released their annual Small & Midsize Enterprise Travel Management Report. The report examined travel programs with up to $12 million in annual United States-originating air volume, which equated to approximately $1 million to $24 million in total business travel volume. It also accounted for hotel, car, meals and other ancillary travel spend. In the report, BTN shared that Travel Managers have six primary focuses:

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Topics: T&E, travel policy, risk management, technology

Tax Compliance Implications of Business Travel

Posted by Mike MacNair on Jun 16, 2016 12:00:00 PM

Did you know your business travelers could be liable for double income tax while they’re working in another country? Did you know it’s possible to inadvertently expose the company to a corporate tax liability by engaging in certain types of business while traveling?

Chances are, neither your travel managers nor your business travelers are thinking of the potential tax implications for business travel. Yet, technically, if one of your employees spends a week in another country (or state) they owe income taxes to that entity under the Pay-As-You-Earn type taxes for the amount of time they’re there.

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Topics: travel policy, Tax Compliance, Travel Management Company

5 Travel Policy Mistakes You Can’t Afford to Make

Posted by Mike MacNair on May 26, 2016 12:00:00 PM

Why do corporate travel policies fail? There can be many reasons including not enough stakeholder buy-in, user adoption, clunky payment systems, and an overly complex policy.

If you’re a corporate travel manager, you know that when your travel policy fails it’s a sign of problems on multiple fronts. You leave yourself open to liabilities if employees are non-compliant and you don’t meet business goals when it comes to budget and procedures.

It’s no secret that T&E can be the largest line item on your company’s budget after salaries. Developing a comprehensive, yet easy to follow travel policy can make a dramatic impact on your bottom line. But where do you start?

First, consider the value of travel management. You probably already realize the many important roles that travel managers play, which includes ensuring your policy avoids costly mistakes. You can make sure the executive team knows it too when you incorporate the following strategies in your travel program.

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Topics: travel policy

Attract and Retain Top Talent by Effectively Managing Duty of Care

Posted by Mike MacNair on May 10, 2016 12:00:00 PM

Business travel continues to be an integral part of managing a successful business. Establishing a robust, results-oriented corporate travel management program involves many components. The establishment of a concise travel policy, appropriately managing travel expenses and ensuring that both travelling employees and your business are satisfied with travel management results will demonstrate a positive return on investment (ROI) from your corporate travel program.

One important area of your corporate travel management program that isn’t discussed frequently, is your business’ commitment to duty of care while your employees are traveling. Duty of care by definition is your company’s moral and legal responsibility for the safety and well-being of its employees within your organization, with special attention given to travelling employees. It’s essential for a well-run business, and a successful travel management program.

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Topics: travel policy, duty of care