Companies that send employees on the road do so as an investment in growth. Business travel plays a key role in any corporate strategy to drive revenue and boost competitive advantages via face-to-face meetings. And the numbers bear it out. The U.S. Travel Association assumes that every dollar spent on business travel yields a $9.50 return in revenues and $2.90 in profits in a fiscal year.
Every dollar spent on business travel yields a $9.50 return in revenues and $2.90 in profits in a fiscal year.
So is your corporate travel company supporting your evolution? Maybe your business has grown to the point that you need to study more options. Here are a few things to consider when evaluating your travel management company.
Travel costs are keeping you from planning in-person meetings with clients and prospects
Staying top of mind with your clients and prospects means that you are bringing in and retaining more business, which allows you to stay competitive. A report from the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), found that every 1% increase in business travel spending results in 71,000 additional jobs for the U.S. economy and that the ROI on business travel is approximately 20 to 1. If you’re sacrificing valuable face-time with clients or prospects because your travel spend for the quarter is maxed out, you might actually be handicapping your business.
Your spending isn’t turning into savings
Is your travel company continually advising you on smarter spending and watching for savings opportunities? Now that you’ve been tracking what you’re spending, are your contracted rates producing savings of your hard-earned dollars? Your travel management company should always be on the lookout for new ways to bring value to the relationship. If a recent acquisition means you’re traveling to a new city, is your partner sorting the best hotel rates and transportation? The right partner will have a team of analysts dedicated to your account who are tasked with improving ROI and boosting cost savings.
You’re missing out on vendor discounts
There are valuable discount opportunities on all types of business travel expenses, but are your employees on board with the plan? The point of contracts and preferred rates is to consolidate your spending with one or two suppliers. You may have introduced a travel plan to your employees, but if they’re not reserving travel with the corporate booking portal 100% of the time, you might need to train and educate them again. Is your travel partner tracking compliance, and are they proactively sharing their findings with you? A valuable travel management company knows that change can be hard and that one round of training or a one-time roadshow may not be enough to get the compliance you need.
Your employees are not complying with your travel policy
Many company managers simply point out their travel policy in their employee handbook or a supplemental packet and say “follow our travel policy,” but enforce it sporadically at best. This results in haphazard processes, from filing expense reports weeks or months after the expense was incurred, or lost receipts. You may also have employees booking travel at the last minute - which results in higher fares - instead of booking in advance as your policy requires. Lack of training can also lead to employee abuse through spending too much on meals, booking higher rate rooms at hotels, or flying business or first class instead of economy. Who’s watching for violations of your company travel policy? You should be able to rely on your travel management company to report the most expensive trips by traveler so you can further educate the high flyers!
You’re on your own after hours
Have you been stuck in a connecting airport terminal at 11pm with 100 other people scrambling for any available hotel room? If you call your travel provider after 6pm, does someone answer the phone? And, is that person an experienced pro, or a lightly-trained temp? Business travelers need someone available to help them out of a jam 24/7. They should always be connected to experienced, efficient, and courteous support, no matter where they are in the world.
Business travelers need someone available to help them out of a jam 24/7.
Clearly, companies still see value in business travel as a capital investment. The majority of corporate executives acknowledge that cutting back on business travel would pose significant business risks. Business travel consolidates relationships and offers competitive advantages by investing in people, building relationships, and creating profitability. If your current partner isn’t supporting your company’s growth, maybe it’s time to consider a more active travel management company. Get in touch with Travel Leaders Group to maximize cost savings and measure positive returns on investment in your company’s business travel.