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Globalizing your Travel Program: Notes from GBTA Convention 2014

At GBTA 2014, four companies discussed the inner workings of their travel program, along with the process of taking their program global.

Four companies offer insight into taking travel programs global.
Four companies offer insight into taking travel programs global.

GBTA’s 2014 Convention, held last month in Los Angeles, offered attendees an array of educational sessions that sparked discussions on new or improved ways of managing business travel.

Of the sessions I attended, one stood out. Four companies discussed the inner workings of their travel program, along with the process of taking their program global. Each of the companies offered highlights of their programs and presented ideas to consider when taking a travel program “global.”  Here are my notes from their suggestions and discussion:

  • All four companies had duty of care responsibility as the first consideration.
  • Cost savings was the next item to consider when globalizing their travel program.
  • Data management reporting followed as the third item.
  • One company contracts with two Travel Management Companies (TMC). The presenting travel manager said the two TMCs had a very good working relationship making this option possible.
  • While the hype, advertising, and media in the market place touts using one online booking tool throughout a global program, the reality is usually different.
  • The use of one booking tool globally is entirely dependent on the countries where offices are located.
  • Depending on the country and the tool, the adoption rate varies from 25% to 75%.
  • The cost of bringing on a given country/location needs to be considered against ROI, especially when only a few travelers reside in a specific country. Sometimes a particular location can be combined with another for cost effectiveness.
  • Travel agents are still highly regarded and a necessity with complex and international travel.

As a Convention attendee, I appreciate these education sessions and the perspectives they provide, and I look forward to next year’s event.

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