Much has been written recently about the business of travel management and, specifically, how managing suppliers may not be the best way to manage costs. When it comes to managing a mature travel programme, for example, the likelihood is that savings from squeezing suppliers have already been maximised. Instead, managers are being urged to manage travellers, and this point was also highlighted in Egencia’s report on ‘The Real Cost of Business Travel’.
Egencia’s report nudges managers to look at the intangible and hidden costs of business travel as well as the more classic expenses such as air travel and accommodation. By managing travellers and providing them with the right tools to plan, book and track their travel, productivity and other hidden costs can be reduced and thereby saving companies ‘the real costs of business travel’. How do you manage travellers? Well, by getting them to comply, obviously, albeit ‘gently’ suggests Egencia. In fact, they give us a very useful four-pronged approach to increase compliance:
1 Communicate – explain to travellers what the company stands to gain by adopting a new policy
2 Educate – educate travellers of the benefits to them of adhering to your travel programme and give them recognition when they do
3 Compete – encourage inter-departmental competition
4 Offer (or reward) – offer travellers incentives for the winning department in addition to bragging rights
In summary, you may have maxed out your supplier savings but there are still significant savings to be had by managing and reducing your hidden costs – your productivity costs, for example – and intangible costs, such as traveller/employee satisfaction. Do this, and you can still see a big impact on the company bottom line.
This post was written by David Chapple, event director of the Business Travel Show. Egencia is exhibiting at the Business Travel Show, which takes place 4-5 February 2014 in London.