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Business Travel Travel Management

Increasing Employee Compliance With New Travel Policies

Implementing new travel policies can get tricky. Yet often the real battle comes later, when you’re trying to get employee compliance on these new changes. More often than not, these new policies were sculpted with the traveler’s needs and happiness in mind. The truth is there are many reasons business travelers should want to comply, not just because the company seems to demand it.

What employees receive when they comply with the travel program:

  1. Their safety. It’s the company’s duty of care responsibility to ensure their traveler’s wellbeing while they’re traveling on the company’s behalf. Should an emergency arise, there will be no confusion if a traveler has followed the protocol of the travel policy. Plus, tools like our SecurityLogic provides instant location information, based off of their itineraries.
  2. Saves costs for the company. Vendor contracts have been painstakingly created and negotiated. It only makes sense to stay within guidelines.
  3. If done correctly, increases traveler satisfaction. As important as overall costs are for the company, ensuring their travelers are comfortable often leads to more productive meetings. By understanding what will keep your travelers happy, and ensuring they rely on your travel program to receive it, makes it a win/win for everyone.

5 ways to use traveler satisfaction to increase compliance

    1. First and foremost, talk to your travelers. Survey your employees and try to negotiate the inclusions that are important to them. They are, after all, the people enduring the trip.
    2. Recognize frequently expensed items like lounge access or Wi-Fi. Try to get these things included for frequent travelers.
    3. Don’t be afraid to get creative in negotiations. For example, if travelers are frequently expensing Starbucks, consider negating a breakfast credit to be used either in the restaurant or coffee shop (rather than a traditional breakfast) at your preferred hotel.
    4. Travelers are more likely to comply to vendors if you provide them the WIFM (what’s in it for me). Traveling for business in general may be enough of a perk of the job for some. So make sure they understand the additional benefits included in their policy. You’ve worked hard to get them these perks, so make sure they know they have it available.
    5. Continued internal communication about travel programs. This tip seems so basic, but is often overlooked. Travel management has a tendency to become a siloed conversation within companies. Sure, new employees are briefed when they come on, but how many really know what’s included in their travel policy? Many may not even realize they’re booking outside of the policy. Or reasonable alternatives to their preferences are available. Try by taking a step back and putting yourself in their shoes for a few minutes. When was the last time they were briefed on employee compliance and the travel policy? What information is available when they’re booking or if they have questions? Do you have communications protocol if a new vendor contract is created? You could make a goal to send out a quarterly update email entailing any changes or reminders of basic protocols.

Overall, getting employee compliance with travel policies requires help from both sides of the table – the company and the traveler. By understanding their needs, you can help create a superior travel experience. And hopefully the travelers will understand the importance of complying with the policy when they see the benefits for their wellbeing and safety.

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Business Travel Travel Management

Business Travel Cost Savings: Part 2 – Vendor Negotiations

To review Part 1 where we discuss the value of having a business travel account management team and the potential savings that come as a result, click here.

Part two of my series on business travel cost savings touches on vendor negotiations.

There are several options when negotiating for your hotel, car, and air contracts. Depending on the depth of the negotiation, one or more of the following processes may be employed: RFP (Request for Proposal), RFQ (Request for Quotation), RFI (Request for Information), ITB (Invitation to Bid), and/or ITN (Invitation to Negotiate). For example, if you are simply seeking information, then use the RFI process. If you are wanting pricing only, then an RFQ would be appropriate, and so on.

Clients who partner with Christopherson Business Travel enjoy the benefit of having an account management team who will consult with their travel managers to determine the best avenues when negotiating on their behalf. During our consultation we use the following formula for negotiation success:

  1. Visualize
  2. Prepare
  3. Strategize
  4. Empathize
  5. Commit
  6. Follow-Up

Have you ever wondered how hotels look at the negotiating process? Here is a little insight.

Hotels are ultimately judged by shareholders on their return on capital, which translates into targets for Revenue per Available Room (RevPAR), the overall revenue divided by the total potential number of room-nights over the financial year. Hotels use a range of techniques and technologies to assist them in “yield management,” the process by which they try to optimize revenue and occupancy over different market segments, through seasonal fluctuations, while taking into account national, regional and local economic circumstances. Some hotels have very sophisticated systems and experience analysts; others do not. Some hotels always follow the advice of the yield managers; others have more discretion.
Christopherson Business Travel knows that travel vendor negotiations can, and should, differ considerably company to company depending on the type of organization, size, geographic scope, and the degree of influence on the vendor. Christopherson’s account managers consult with industry experts and employ sourcing methods to help our clients create and manage their entire travel supplier network. In addition to the traditional vendor categories like airlines, hotels and ground transportation, we also support sourcing efforts related to meeting services, online booking tools, and credit card programs.

To produce cost-consistency and reductions, Christopherson Business Travel consults with you and creates strategies to:

  • Achieve optimal savings, coverage, and service goals
  • Align supplier programs with overall organizational goals
  • Track economic and industry trends to help identify opportunities for improvement
  • Take advantage of best-practice tools and benchmark information

Typical components of a sourcing management engagement include:

  • Vendor Program Assessment & Savings Opportunity Analysis
  • RFP Process Management
  • Negotiation Support
  • Vendor Program Implementation

President John F. Kennedy said, in his 1961 inaugural address, “Let us never negotiate out of fear, but let us never fear to negotiate.”

Because of increasing costs and greater demands, Christopherson Business Travel’s Account Managers will meet with you to create the ultimate scenario to ensure that your company gains a profitable return on investment with regards to your travel program. For facts on actual ROI savings and additional information, contact us.