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Managed Travel 2.0–What’s the fuss all about?

Managed Travel 2.0, an idea/program where travelers shop and book travel anywhere on any safe suppliers, provided they are within budget and the data on their transaction and travel is then collected in real-time by their company, is a very interesting concept and one that will probably move forward, but with possible resistance from many. I find this interesting to watch and consider because of all the players involved.

The consensus among industry experts seems to be that travel technology has not progressed at warp speed like other technologies. Some blame this on the travel industry’s GDS (Global Distribution System) situation. I don’t know that I agree with this theory completely, but then again, when you have been in the same industry for 30+ years, like I have, without viewing the progression speed of other industries’ technology, I suppose I’m not equipped to weigh in with a fully educated opinion.

During the GBTA’s recent convention in Boston, there were a few educational sessions regarding this topic. In the session I attended, 80% of the attendees were either travel managers or procurement specialists. During the presentation, it was suggested, based on information from a GBTA survey, that an unmanaged travel program is better than a managed travel program for a number of reasons–savings being one of them. The tension in the room was intense, to say the least.

However, in a recent newsletter from Travel GPA, CEO Rock Blanco, addressed the information presented in that GBTA forum, and pointed out that the benefits of a managed travel program–namely data, safety, and proven expertise–is where the value lies.

Like I said, it will be interesting to see how this all plays out.

Travel Management

The Truth and Consequences of an Unmanaged Travel Progam

As I was talking to a valued client last week the question came up as to why did their company need to have a managed travel program.  What are the advantages?  Are there cost saving benefits?  Will their travelers really follow a managed travel program where they acutally had to adhere to guidelines and rules?  They expressed their doubts and concerns that anyone would follow their travel recomendations without “mandating” they do so.  They are the type of company that does not mandate.  I returned to my office and pulled up a grid that we use when comparing distinctions between Managed vs Unmanaged travel with regards to travel policy compliance and enforcement.  The grid compares the two travel programs and the  possible outcomes or should I say… consequences.  I would like to share this grid as it could help you  as it did them when putting together your companies managed travel program.

Travel Issues
Managed Travel
Consequence of Unmanaged Travel
Finding the lowest fare Christopherson Business Travel will search for the lowest corporate policy fare and notify designated approvers when a travel is out of policy. “Lowest fare” may be defined by the traveler, and not by corporate policy. 
Securing corporate discounts Consolidated data provides spend detail & improves negotiating leverage with suppliers Suppliers unlikely to grant meaningful discounts based on non-detailed general ledger data.
Risk Management Christopherson Business Travel’s AirPortal® can find travelers when a crisis develops. Corporations are at legal risk when employees traveling on corporate business cannot be accounted for.
Non-Refundable Tickets Christopherson Business Travel’s AirBank® automated unused ticket program ensures that all dollars spent are re-used and not lost. Unmanaged travelers will forget to rebook non-refundable tickets prior to travel date, and lose the full value of the tickets costing the company thousands of dollars.
Ticket cancelation flexibility Christopherson Business Travel can reserve fares on major carriers via Worldspan, Sabre, and Apollo allowing your company to void tickets by the end of the next business day avoiding the full ticket price loss and the exchange fee cost. Voiding tickets via airline websites or online booking engines is most often not possible. Once issued and the trip is canceled, the ticket funds are “tied up” and not eligible for use until you travel again. A change fee is then charged ranging anywhere from $50 to $200.
24 Hour Emergency Support Christopherson Business Travel is available 24/7 for support of GDS and tickets booked online Unmanaged travelers are on their own. Many suppliers are no longer open 24 hours.
Online Booking Products Christopherson Business Travel’s ResX, Cliqbook, and Get There are booked via AirPortal® and are travel policy based and promotes compliance through high tech high touch filtering Online supplier sites are consumer based and not travel policy compliant.
Hotel Reservations and No-Shows Christopherson Business Travel can find space in sold-out situations and often arrange waiver of no-show bills Stand alone travelers have no leverage in sold out situations and rarely can negotiate a no-show waiver – adding more costs for the company’s bottom line.
Groups & Meetings Christopherson Business Travel will insure that groups travel on group fare discounts and that meetings are budgeted at lowest possible costs. Unmanaged travelers will fly independently at higher fares and pay “rack” rate for meetings when purchased on one-off basis.