Corporate travel expenses

Sam Walton, the founder of Walmart, credits his company’s global success to ten simple rules. Number nine: “Control your expenses better than your competition.” This, Walton goes on to say, “is where you can always find the competitive advantage.” Is your company the one with the competitive advantage, the one who, as Walton said, “can make a lot of different mistakes and still recover” or are you the brilliant company who will go out of business because you’re inefficient?

Think about this for a second, according to Data Visualization Intelligence “the top 10–12% of travelers can represent up to 50% of a company’s travel costs.” Up to 50%! That’s huge, especially considering travel is often a company’s second-largest expense after payroll. “Yea,” you may be thinking, “but my top travelers are my best salespeople and I have to keep them happy.” That’s probably true and their job satisfaction is essential to the success of your business, but by working with a travel management company to improve the efficiency of your travel program, you can control costs without sacrificing the comfort or safety of your road warriors.

“The top 10–12% of travelers can represent up to 50% of a company’s travel costs.”
- Data Visualization Intelligence, July 2019

Travel is a controllable expense, plain and simple. But what exactly does that mean? When you control your company’s travel expenses, you implement systems that dictate employees’ behavior. Travel policies, online booking, duty of care requirements and automated expense reporting are all examples of systems designed to influence behavior in order to bring about the desired outcome: increased efficiency. Sound draconian? Don’t fear, when a travel program is implemented by a travel management company that is sensitive to the needs of travelers such systems often improve employee satisfaction as well as productivity. 

Here are a few examples. A successful hotel program will save your company money by ensuring you the best available room rate (and will frequently include free parking, wi-fi and breakfast as well). But, it could also include early check-in, late check out and room upgrades for your travelers, ideally at their preferred hotels. That’s a win for everyone. Meeting running late? What if your employees could ask a travel advisor via text to bump them to the next flight, without leaving the room and with no change fee. What if that ticket also included lounge access, free onboard wi-fi and priority boarding? Now that’s how to keep your road warriors happy and productive.

There are many ways to take charge of your company’s travel expenses, but the biggest step is often the first: deciding to act. Working with a travel management company will enable you to identify problem areas by seeing exactly where your money is being spent, and by whom. They will also work with you to develop customized solutions to meet your goals and help you track and analyze the success of your program. Where there’s a will, there’s a way and by choosing to see travel as a controllable expense, you are doing your part to ensure your company is the one with the competitive advantage.

For more information about building an effective travel policy, check out this article.

Ready to speak with a corporate travel expert about how you can better manage your business travel? Get in touch with us to schedule a free consultation that can help lower costs and get added-value perks for your travel spending.