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Business Travel Travel Management

Is It Time For A Business Travel Program Review?

Let’s say your company has an implemented and active travel program. You have processes in place, the correct people in charge, and travelers on the road. Everything is as it should be, right? You may actually be missing one important part of the process—an overall program review. Similar to finance or investments, it’s necessary to take a broad assessment of your travel program and your company every so often. So, is your travel program still on target? We’ve compiled these common questions to help your company decide if it’s time for a business travel program review.

Is your travel program still on target? Here’s what you should be asking:

When was the last time you reviewed your travel program? 

One year? Five years? Though yearly and quarterly reviews and assessments are imperative to a healthy travel program, we find most companies take a deeper look at their existing travel program every three to five years.

Has your company grown or shrunk since you first implemented your travel program? 

Could the person in charge of your travel need an additional set of hands to get through everything? Most often we find that companies simply outgrow their existing travel program. Additionally, your industry landscape may be completely different from when you first established your travel policy and program. Do you have new or different competitors? Are there new territories you team visits? It may be time to do a competitive review as well.

What’s new in the business travel industry? 

Business travel continues to advance at the speed of light. It’s surprising to think that ride sharing and vacation rentals like airbnb have really just entered the business travel sector. Is your team utilizing these latest advances? Or would they benefit from adding it to your program?

Are you getting the most advanced technology options on the market?  

In addition to the overall changes in the business travel industry, is the technology itself. Would your company’s travel be smoother with the use of easy-to-access itineraries, risk management support, online booking options, or real-time analysis tools? Travel technology and custom integrations can often be limited in smaller or boutique travel management companies. It might be time to research the latest in travel technology and its benefits for your company.

Is your team getting the support they need?

As your company grows, so should its support or services. What happens to your travel on the weekends or after 5pm? Smaller in-house programs or boutique TMCs often no longer provide the support, hours of service or attention that’s needed for growing companies.

Are there other travel management services that could be included?

Businesses often have an assortment of travel needs. Business travel is the most obvious, but what about VIP travel, event or meeting planning, humanitarian travel, or incentive trips? Though these types of travel can be planned through different travel companies, it is often easier and saves costs in the long run to consolidate all travel needs with one TMC.

 

As companies grow, new challenges and needs grow as well. One area that is usually overlooked is the travel program. It can be tempting to stick with an existing travel program during these times of growth. But the fact is that it may no longer effectively benefit your company or travelers. Taking the time to ask yourself these questions will put you in the right track to evaluate your travel program.

Categories
Business Travel Travel Management

How to get the lowest airfare–Understanding the fluctuation of flight prices

how to get the lowest airfare

As an Account Manager for Christopherson Business Travel, I’m often asked by our clients’ travel managers: “Why is it, when looking for a flight, that the price can change within minutes of purchasing the fare?”

Cost of airfare has the potential to impact both the traveler and the company. At the point of purchase, the traveler is trying to juggle getting both a reasonable fare and their schedule to align before the ticket price changes. And quite often, it’s the cost of airfare that pushes travel expenses over budget, thus impacting a company’s bottom line.

I like to compare purchasing airfare to buying stocks. The price of stocks and the price of airfare is not fixed and can change in less than a minute. Airlines rely on computer modelling to track sales and adjust fares accordingly as often as they want, just like the price of stock is adjusted depending on demand and the current economic and political climate. These variables, in addition to the following factors, can all influence the price of airfare:

  • Passenger load
  • Competitor pricing
  • Peak travel dates, holidays, and seasons
  • Fluctuating fuel costs
  • How much a traveler is willing to pay for a seat

Airlines will also often raise the prices on flights that have a higher percentage of business travelers vs. vacation travelers. They base this on the comparison of:

  • Flights with a high rate of last minute bookings, which tends to be an indicator of business travel clients vs. flights booked well in advance, which tends to be an indicator of vacationers who have been planning for months
  • Short-haul flights that business travelers can make in one day vs. vacation travelers who would more likely drive, instead of fly, that same distance
  • Travel dates during the work week vs. travel dates over a weekend

How can a Travel Management Company help businesses and their travelers when airfare is so unpredictable?

Travel Management Companies have the ability to leverage all of those price-driving factors to keep costs down and help the traveler make well-informed trip-driven choices. Here are some of the ways we, at Christopherson Business Travel, accomplish this:

  • Supplier negotiations
  • Analyze program leakage
  • Create and manage travel policy
  • Facilitate the duty of care for a company’s travelers
  • Assist in educating the traveler
  • Ability to track that the lowest fare was indeed offered to the traveler and the reasons why/if it was refused

To learn more about how Christopherson Business Travel can help your company find the most cost-effective airfares for your business travel needs, please contact one of our executives.

 

Categories
Business Travel Travel Management

One Company Finds that Travel 2.0 Doesn’t Save Money

I have blogged before regarding the topic of Travel 2.0:

travel 2.0It is certainly a hot topic with varied issues, differing opinions, and supposed ramifications.

But another stark example on the side of “why Travel 2.0 doesn’t work” was reported last week in a Business Travel News article about the company Autodesk, and their recent challenges with travelers who continually respond to their travel manager with those famous last words, “I can find it cheaper myself online than through our travel program.”

After 30 days of Travel 2.0, Topaz International performed an audit on Autodesk’s travel expenses. Results showed, that when it was all said and done, Autodesk was in fact, not saving money with Travel 2.0 and the value of a managed travel program was confirmed.

I couldn’t help but think as I read the report: “Well, that’s another point on the side of managed travel over open booking with Travel 2.0.”

What are your thoughts? Do you think a managed travel program is worth the investment in the long run? Or do you think Travel 2.0 is the best option for companies?