How to: Prove the value of your travel management program
The end of the year is fast approaching, and if your fiscal year lines up with the calendar year, you’re busy settling accounts, balancing budgets, and prepping plans for next year. Your travel program accounts for so much of your spend in the course of a business year – and for good reason! Business travel is proven to grow business!
But do you know how to show that your travel program is working? Can you pinpoint the specific benefits of managed travel and show why the dollars make sense? Whether you’re simply getting better at redeeming unused tickets (if your TMC is keeping an eye on them, you won’t lose them!), racking up waivers and favors, or spearheading a culture-shift to encourage travelers to book simple travel online (let’s be honest – that commuter flight from Boston to Philly is almost Pavlovian by now, right?), here are the secrets of showing the value of your travel program. Don’t worry – the proof is here.
From Holly Perry, Senior Account Manager at World Travel, Inc., “We often have clients increase Online Adoptions without having to modify their travel policy. All it takes is some awareness training.” You’ve got some skin in the game here. You need to encourage your travelers to use good habits to save you money. But don’t try to change everybody all at once – focus on the heavy hitters. “One client started an internal campaign. They identified their top five domestic city pairs, and then challenged their travelers to book online every time they had travel on those routes. It acclimated them to the OBT, and they saved money on transaction fees.” Baby steps can work, helping travelers know and trust the OBT a little bit at a time. Of course, agents are always willing and able to help, but easy trips can be booked on the OBT.
Last-minute ticket purchases will sap your cash, too. Again, Perry says, “try to be a little more surgical in your approach to encouraging Advanced Purchases. You can’t change every department all at once.” Identify your problem children and your opportunities – while you may never get your Sales Team to book in advance, you should be able to find departments who will embrace the challenge. That conference that HR attends every year, or the R&D team’s annual meeting can be booked in advance with little risk. Pick a single department to teach good habits, and then go from there.
And then there’s those pesky unused tickets. By tracking and redeeming unused tickets, you can save your company a lot of lost dollars. “In one account that comes to mind, for 2014, we reduced the unused tickets on file by 73%, which saved $315,901.93,” said Perry. Money talks, and this is no exception!
Part 1: Leverage WorldReports™ to show what’s working.
- Air/Rail Ticketing Detail Report
Utilize the Air/Rail Ticketing Detail report to show how much you’re spending on air (your biggest budget consumer) and when. If you have a bunch of travelers who like to book last-minute, they’re probably costing you money. Sure, sometimes plans change and meetings pop up, but good advance purchase habits will pay off.
- Online Adoption
Driving online adoption saves money by reducing booking fees. Your expert agents are always ready to help with complicated trips or last-minute changes, but if your travelers book the same trip repeatedly, they can probably just use the OBT.
- Unused Ticket Report
Here’s your money maker! When travel is cancelled, those tickets can often get lost. So don’t lose them; USE THEM! Your Unused Ticket Report tracks the unused tickets you can use for a reasonable fee.
Part 2: Focus on Risk Management
Increased savings for your travel program is key. However; protecting your travelers and their safety is just as important. So here’s a different kind of value you can show through your travel program: you know where your travelers are.
Sure, most of today’s travelers love the autonomy of travel booking ease. They ask, “Why can’t I book directly through the airline or rail company? Why do I have to book through the Travel Management Company?” So educate yourself and your travelers about Risk Management which is a prominent topic in today’s society. If trouble strikes, your company knows which traveler is where, because all the data is in one place.
The Where Are My Travelers Dashboard gives you an overview of all your employee’ whereabouts. It allows you to drill down by continent, country, and state, and determine when your travelers’ flights or trains are. It also allows you to quickly get all traveler emails in a specific region.
Proving the value of Travel Management isn’t hard to do, although the constantly changing travel landscape means you need to keep on top of things. Ask your World Travel, Inc. account manager to show you which reports show the savings your program has accrued. You can also let us know what type of data your C-Suite likes to get their hands on… we can show you where to find it using our WorldReports™ platform.