Time to Make Business Travel a Win-Win

Forget the old practices of travel management. The modern era requires a new approach.

Travel does not need to be a ‘Bogey’ Expense

No doubt travel can be a big expense for many businesses.

It can blow budgets out fast and before you know it there’s a travel ban imposed.

Yes, the haemorrhaging spend has been stemmed. But what about the effect of the ban on the top line?

The margins in the travel industry are razor-thin so looking for savings in price is likely to yield minimal value – that’s not where it’s at if you want to reduce costs.

So pull out the travel policy rule book …. time to think laterally.

Let’s start with those who travel – your team – if we enhance their travel experience maybe we can create a win/win:

On-line Booking Tool

Business travellers want to have control over making their own reservations and typically the traveller has had little recourse when something goes wrong.

An on-line mobile tool that allows flexibility and autonomy while working within the parameters of company travel policy is a huge advantage. And… it’s an instant frustration buster for the traveller.

You now have the On-line Tool – how about a Dynamic Travel Policy?

The purpose of a travel policy is to manage costs right?

With the right booking tool that will enforce company spend thresholds why mandate the hotel chain, airline or car hire service? Before you claim that this is procurement blasphemy …. think about it.

Competition in the Australian travel market is intense – take advantage of it as long as you can control it.

Why stay at the company designated hotel across the other side of the city when you can stay next door to your next meeting for the same or lower price as well as save a huge taxi or Uber fare?

Why not have the flexibility to take a promotional business class airfare for the same or less than the cost of a ‘cattle class’ airfare?

Flexible Travel Hours

Have to be in Brisbane for 9am meeting – to be there you’ll have to catch the 6:30am flight which means you’ll need to be out of bed by 4am – sound familiar?

What if you catch a flight up the day before in non-peak, low cost flight hours.

You can do a ton of productive work online when you arrive at the accommodation you booked that is close to your meeting. In most instances it will work out to be the same or cheaper cost.

Of course you’ll be fresher and more productive!

Leisure – Business Leisure

Combine business and leisure travel.

One of your team plans a sales trip to Melbourne from Wednesday through to Friday. Why not extend the trip through Sunday and spend the weekend doing a food and winery trip in the Yarra Valley?

For the company, the airfare cost is often no different for a longer stay – quite likely lower when the return leg is out of peak hours.  Another win-win.

There are a lot more ideas we could cover but the message is that a great business outcome starts with selecting a good travel management approach that starts with a good online booking tool.

Time to think laterally

If you had a powerful, yet simple-to-use platform that allowed you to set company travel policy with appropriate flexibility - would you use it? Now your team could make and manage their own bookings all within the rules you define. We are seeing significant savings for our members using this approach.

Transparency creates accountability

Supply Clusters provides transparent reporting on Business Travel through our member portal. Simply sign up to our Standing Offer arrangement and your data will be available 24/7. Members have access to all of their data including detail on every single transaction. Join today, start saving on Travel and see all the detail you need to manage your Business Travel needs:

  • A breakdown of travel expense by category including local and international
  • Details by cost centre in your business to identify the travel offenders
  • Transparency on booking fees

Things to consider and look out for when choosing a travel management platform and policy

Preferred hotels

Preferred hotels offers organisations the option to receive reduced room rates. However, when a hotel reaches a certain occupancy level it should come as no surprise that those cheaper rates are no longer available (ever tried to book a room with your preferred hotel during the Melbourne cup?). Make sure you have a ‘Plan B’ that is catered for by your booking platform when this occurs. Also, consider other travel costs when using preferred hotels. Costs mount for taxis and transit where the hotel is not located close to the meeting location.

Phone bookings

Many corporate travel providers still book flights over the phone (especially international) – this makes no sense. This simply increases booking charges and reduces transparency of the actual fare cost. It is also slow and cumbersome for support staff to organise travel. Worse, it increases the ‘soft’ or hidden cost of business travel.

Mark up on fares

Some travel management providers mark up air fares to make extra margin. Non transparent booking methods such as phone help perpetuate this practice.

Lack of transparency around reporting

Many traditional booking systems come with poor reporting. Modern travel booking systems give greater detail for reporting to help manage travel budgets.

Better Buying Outcome

Business travel can be more seamless for both the traveller and manager. There are some simple things to look for in a travel manager. Choose one who offers:

  • Online booking technology that optimises the traveller experience and reduces noise around travel booking and management.
  • The ability to offer flexibility incorporating your business policy controls.
  • The ability to use negotiated rates as well as the best rate of the day.
  • Build in the ability for leisure – a no or low cost path to increase team satisfaction.
  • Data and information management to optimise travel spend.
  • No transaction fees for online bookings.
  • Online international point to point bookings thus avoiding expensive phone booking fees.

Supply Clusters Offer

Supply Clusters partner with Egencia, the corporate arm of Expedia Inc who brings a fresh approach to business travel.

Members receive the following benefits from Egencia:

  • On-line booking tool (both domestic and international)
  • Highly flexible travel policy rules engine
  • Capped low booking fees for domestic and international flights
  • No transaction fees on accommodation and car hire (booked online)
  • Rebates (Premium Members) on booking fees
  • On-line portal to access your spend data