Furnace Creek Inn

JELD-WEN is one of the world’s largest door and window manufacturers. They operate manufacturing facilities in 20 countries, located primarily in North America, Europe, and Australia. We spoke with their Travel & Events Manager, Flodine Lee, about her company’s travel program to get a sense of their challenges and successes. Take a look at what JELD-WEN is doing with their business travel program.

Q: What have you learned about running a corporate travel program and keeping your business travelers happy?

A: I’ve learned that it’s all about their comfort. And making sure there’s something in it for them. For example, we allow our frequent travelers to keep their points and miles for their personal use. A lot of our employees are on the road all the time. The status and loyalty points are another bonus. We hope it shows our appreciation when they can take their family on a vacation using those points.

Q: What is an issue you had to deal with recently?

A: One of our travelers was checked into a very good hotel, one where we’d never had a problem before. But she got bed bugs and called to let us know. I followed up with the hotel and informed them of the problem. Their risk group got it quickly under control. The hotel said they isolated that room and all the rooms around it: the room above, the 2 rooms on either side of it and the one below. That made me feel better, and more confident about recommending the hotel chain.

Travel Leaders Corporate has been extremely helpful. They are proactive and come to me with ideas to help me try to save money for the company.

Q: How does Duty of Care figure into your Travel Program? 

A: We have cancelled trips to areas where there is civil unrest. We just don’t want to take a chance with our employees. On an ongoing basis, I track the destinations that are booked through our booking portal, and I get pre-flight alerts about potential risks. I can pass those along to the travelers so they’re informed of any potential situations.

Q: What aspect of business travel are you most concerned with right now?

A: Hotel costs seem to be trending upward with no end in sight. It’s a struggle to find a room for under $200 night. At some point, it’s going to affect our willingness to send out staff on the road.

Q: Have you embraced ‘Shared Economy’ suppliers?

A: We do allow the use of a ridesharing company, but it’s not a formal arrangement. We are still evaluating adding those as an “official” option. We do not allow homesharing options for accommodations. We’re sending people into small to mid-sized cities where they aren’t many of those anyway. And, our travelers prefer to collect hotel points so there’s very little demand for alternative lodging.

Q: How deeply do you analyze your travel spending? What data helps you to understand how and where to make changes in travel spending?

A: We’re a medium-sized company. I have more than one role. I’m not just a Travel Manager. As I review expense reports, I see our average hotel rates and if that’s increased, how do we work to get that back down? Using the Business Travel Insights dashboard reporting tool, I share some of my findings via email with our VPs of Finance and other groups. Sales will get a report for their team. The reporting helps us make decisions, and I always send my comments along with the data.

We do an annual benchmarking exercise against our own spending, rather than compare ourselves to other companies. Travel Leaders Corporate has been extremely helpful. They are proactive and come to me with ideas to help me try to save money for the company.

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 improve employee productivity.