Thursday 9 February 2017

GUEST BLOG: The importance of seeing the full picture

From my own experience and conversations with clients and colleagues, managing costs remains a prime focus for travel buyers, travel managers and business owners alike but to do this effectively how transparent and clear is their understanding of the total cost of a trip, down to the last penny?
Total cost of trip is not a new concept by any means. That being said the tools to identify and manage this have become increasingly sophisticated in recent times, primarily in response to growing demand for a more forensic view of all expenses incurred. Whilst the finance teams that implement expense management might have some degree of visibility in terms of knowing the total cost of trip, my own research amongst industry colleagues and clients suggests otherwise. Their role normally consists of implementing an expense management system to reduce processing costs, ensure there is compliance with an expense policy and in some cases, reclaim more VAT. In short, it is designed to save time and money.  
So far, so good and these are all worthwhile considerations. Certainly route deals, corporate hotel programmes and the policing of a travel policy form a key part of this expense management. That being said, there is still a big piece of the expense management jigsaw missing in the shape of incidental expenses and here is where total cost of trip comes into play.
To help provide travellers with a solution and the tools to reconcile expenses on the go we offer one such option, ATPI ExpenSys™. Travellers can create a ‘trip expense’ on their mobile app for each individual trip. For example, users simply have to click on the expense tab and assign a name for that trip. They then record each expense within that trip claim, be it mileage to the airport, car parking or meals. These incidental expenses are then added to the ATPI Analytics™ system to include costs that have typically already been accounted for (typically airfares and accommodation). In this way, the travel manager is then able to view and monitor the total cost of trip for that travel programme.
Such insight and knowledge equips travel managers with an understanding of where and how travellers can have different spending requirements whilst travelling. Whilst there is a lot of good will exercised when managers sign off expenses certainly what some view as a legitimate expense might not be shared by others. Some might think it is fine to jump in a taxi from the airport whilst others opt for public transport.
For the cost conscious travel buyers who have negotiated another £1 off their agency’s transaction fees and monitored travellers advanced purchase patterns to drive down the airfare costs, these are valuable and effective ways to save on the bottom line. However, there is also the opportunity to make even greater savings by identifying other major areas across incidental expenses. If for example two employees both travel to Amsterdam and one always uses a taxi and the other always takes public transport to the city centre then your taxi traveller can be educated on the public transport option. Understanding the total cost of trip not only gives a fresh understanding it can also provide a fresh opportunity to save and surely that is something worth investing in?

This post was written by Adam Knights, UK Managing Director, ATPI Group, who will be a guest on one of the Business Travel Show’s panel sessions ‘Strengthening your relationship with your TMC’ which will be held between 14.30pm and 15.40pm on Wednesday 22 February 2017. Visit to register. 

In addition to showcasing the latest developments and technology, visitors to the ATPI Group stand at the Business Travel Show will be able to attend two sessions focusing on topics that are always a top priority for travel buyers, Expense Management and Duty of Care. The sessions will take place during the show at Europe’s largest specialised exhibition and conference for business travel buyers and managers held at London Olympia from 22 to 23 February 2017. 

The first session entitled ‘How to get the best data from your expense solution’ will be hosted by Drew Murray from ExpenSys, from 12noon to 12.20pm. The session will offer advice on how to ensure you can identify and report the total cost of a trip through one single view and then utilise the data to identify and predict future cost-savings.

The second session ‘How to understand the risks and mitigate them’ will be run by Oliver Piercy, former head of security at Petrofac, The session will be held from 13.30pm to 13.50pm. The two sessions will run at the same time on both days of the exhibition.

To register to attend one of the sessions please email:  stating your preference of session and date.  The ATPI team will be on stand B445.

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