Categories
Business Travel Travel Management

The Overlooked Risks of Unmanaged Business Travel

Booking and managing travel is usually a breeze when everything goes as planned. It’s even kind of fun, right? Researching new destination cities is a change of pace from the norm. And finding a good bargain on hotel or airline prices is always a win.  Heck, why do you think we like travel management so much too? But as entertaining as planning business travel can be, most professionals are unaware of the negatives that come with it. Online travel booking sites are easy to use, but truly can’t provide the support that companies need for efficient business travel. The risks of unmanaged business travel, that come without using a travel management company, vary from minor to potentially serious.

7 risks of unmanaged business travel

  • Lacking access to travel experts. Growing accustomed to booking your own travel can be a learning experience, but you’ll likely never gain the years of expert travel tips that experienced account managers or travel agents acquire first hand. Relying on their know-how is one of the top benefits of working with a business travel company.
  • Losing out on loyalty programs, discounts, other offers. There are so many tips, tricks, memberships, vendor contracts, etc that most companies have never even heard of before.  Without a TMC to guide you, most companies miss out on serious cost saving benefits without even knowing it.
  • No framework to ensure compliance. Booking travel is one thing, but managing, reporting and analyzing the data is a whole other ballgame for most busy professionals. Having support to ensure compliance, ultimately reducing travel spend, is a major goal that most companies just can’t realistically afford to do on their own.
  • Leveraging the company’s travel spend appropriately. Instead of loosely managing, a TMC will be able to keep a close eye on your costs and any leakage along the way.
  • Comfort for your employees while they travel. A happy traveler is usually a more productive traveler. Automatically booking them on seats or rooms based on their preferences is one easy way to keep your travelers comfortable and efficient.
  • Overall management and order to travel. Keep all itineraries, preferences, and reporting in one place. No more searching through your inbox to find your traveler’s information. Travel technology, like our AirPortal Suite, is designed to keep everything you or your travelers need readily available and in one secure place.
  • Risk management and duty of care support. One of the growing major risks of unmanaged business travel is duty of care responsibility, or lack thereof. What if an emergency arises in an area that your employee is currently traveling? Staying in communication with them, and alerted should something arise is imperative in our world today. And sadly it’s often overlooked by most companies who manage their own travel.

While most online public travel sites are easy-to-use and appear cheaper on the surface, they ultimately can’t provide the cost savings, quality of service, or duty of care support that travel management companies can overall. Ready to learn more about how Christopherson helps companies stay organized, ensure compliance, and assist with risk management? Let’s chat.

Read next:

Categories
Business Travel

Why Booking Travel Yourself Loses You Money

One of the major objections you hear from business executives is: “why would we use a Travel Management Company when employees can just book travel through existing consumer online booking tools?”  Well of course, much has been written about the many benefits that a Travel Management Company can offer, and the savings that they can deliver, so I decided to go in a different direction and conduct a small experiment.

The travel booking experiment

Basically, I wanted to see the time it took me to book the same round-trip (including air, hotel, and car) in a leading online consumer booking tool vs. a leading online corporate booking tool. I shopped for low to mid-range bookings but I decided to not follow any additional budget or travel policies.

The results

My findings?  It took me an extra 5 minutes to book travel online than through a corporate booking tool.

Then I wondered the time it would take over a year. Let’s say an employee travels for business two times a month. That’s an extra 120 minutes, or two hours, a year spent booking travel online.   In other words, if you’re a business owner with 100 employees, you stand to lose 200 hours annually just by booking travel through online sites. 

Now, count in your employee’s prospect lunches, client dinners, and other superfluous activities.  This seemingly simple task ultimately wastes your employee’s time and the company’s money. My experiment merely scratched the surface of unmanaged time due to travel booking. And as I mentioned, it didn’t account for additional budget constraints or travel policies. Travel management companies, like Christopherson Business Travel, allow employees to do they job they were hired to do. Let them get back to work while your travel management is in good hands.

Categories
Business and Leadership Business Travel Travel Management

Concerns for Corporations using Public Online Booking Sites

Sure, it’s quick and easy for business travelers to search for flights on public travel websites.  Watching the ticket price continually drop in front of your eyes; it’s hard to believe there’s a better deal anywhere else! But in the end that’s not always the truth. Both the traveler and their employer are missing out on additional benefits when they use public booking sites for business travel. There are many variables that play a part in efficient travel service and price, many are often overlooked in the process of using those simple public online booking sites.

What you need to know about public online booking sites

  • Hidden transaction fees. Some sites include their transaction fees in a small hidden link called “additional taxes & fees”.  Users assume those are sales taxes, etc., but in some cases, an additional transaction fee is also slipped in.
  • Hotel cancellation fees and discounts. Yes, there are great hotel prices on public sites.  But those are usually non-refundable, non-changeable and you have to pre-pay the full stay.  Even if you end up cancelling once, those charges often outweigh any savings you attained throughout the whole year. If you end up cancelling only one hotel stay in a entire year, those charges can outweigh any savings you attained throughout the year.
  • No duty of care.  There is a moral and legal obligation for employers to know where their employees are when traveling for the company. Employees must email their employers their itinerary.  Who manages that? The traveler’s boss?  The travel manager?  The office manager?  In the event of an emergency,  who in the company will be digging through their emails to determine if their traveler is in harm’s way. Public online booking sites are not equipped for handling duty of care responsibilities.
  • Poor after-hours care.  Who wants to call an 800 number at 10pm when the snowstorm hits the Eastern seaboard and every other traveler is doing the exact same thing? Hold times are outrageous.  On top of your personality sanity, these public booking websites don’t know what your company’s policy is around re-booking flights.
  • No built-in travel policy.  What stops your traveler from booking the Four Seasons or Business Class on a public site?  What stops your traveler from booking the $400 flight on Delta when there is a similar flight on United for only $310?  We’d all like to think that our employee will “do the right thing”, but that’s not always the case.

Public online sites may seem like the easiest and cheapest route for corporations, but in the long run these corporations are falling short.  Travel management companies on the other hand give travelers the tools they need to make the correct choices for booking their business trips.  Pricing is transparent and policies are followed.  The company’s travel policy is built in to the online booking tool so the traveler can choose the best option within the company’s guidelines.  And if a flight is cancelled or delayed, the traveler will receive prompt and friendly assistance from an agent that knows the company and knows the traveler.  In the event of an emergency or disaster, the company can quickly locate and alert each and every traveler and assist those travelers when in need.

Christopherson Business Travel is a corporate travel management company with more than 60 years of experience in the field. We pride ourselves on our efficient travel technology and consultative customer service.

Read Next-

The Downside of Using Online Booking Sites

What Is Duty Of Care

Categories
Travel Management Travel Tips

Free Public Online Travel Sites? – Read the Fine Print

There has been a significant amount of press regarding the Department of Transportation’s new regulations that now require airlines to advertise full ticket prices on websites, including all government taxes and additional fees. But did you know that public online booking tools can sneak their booking fees into the “additional fees” category?
This is to say–service fees are not always listed clearly for the consumer. In many cases, the service fee is only mentioned in the fine print. Charges under “government taxes and additional fees” are not inclusive to fees imposed just by airlines. And online service fees can range anywhere from $6.99-$10.99 for simple domestic fares up to $50 for deposits on air, hotel, and car rental “packages.”
One public online site charges $30 per ticket any time a customer needs a ticket reissued. And in some cases there is a “Processing Service Fee” that a company will retain to compensate themselves for the processing of your travel reservation through their systems.
Bottom line: The proof is in the fine print. Don’t forget to read it.