Tuesday 29 January 2019

GUEST BLOG: Why SMEs should demand more from their travel programme

For many companies, business travel is a regular requirement and essential to success. But do you understand the true cost of travel to your business? Are you paying the price of a poor travel strategy? If you are struggling with your travel programme, you’re not alone. Many of our clients come to us feeling daunted because they don’t have a strategy in place or they want to build a better travel programme that can help save them money. This is where the support of an account management team can help SME clients demand more from their travel spend by identifying more savings and providing greater insights into their overall travel programme.

More savings

Are you saving as much money as you could on hotel rates, for example? Where is the biggest part of your budget going and in which locations? By consolidating hotel spend via bespoke negotiated hotel rates, our account managers can save our clients 15% on average in the first year of their hotel programme. They also analyse where employees are staying, group bookings and length of stay. If a client has 100 room/night bookings or more a year, then there is huge potential for us to negotiate major savings. By establishing strategic partnerships with hotels, an account manager can resolve ad-hoc issues and will also have the inside scoop on waivers and favours, such as room upgrades.

More insight

When you consider all the different variables of booking travel - different hotel room rates, flexibility of air fares, online booking vs over the phone, how far ahead you can book - achieving a smooth process - while catering for every individual – is no mean feat, and you’ll need to be on top of everything to make it work. Your account manager is an expert in interpreting data. With their reports to hand, you’ll be able to evaluate your booking patterns to see where bookings can be made further ahead, in a different class of travel or on a more flexible rate. Invaluable insights like these will ensure you continue making the right decisions for both your employees and your travel budget.

More duty of care

Insight isn’t just about saving money.  It’s also about the importance of staying connected with your employees when they are on the move, to ensure their safety and wellbeing is being considered. Again this is where an account managers can provide support, for example by evaluating your travel programme and helping you judge if your travellers’ wellbeing would benefit from cabin upgrades; or implementing Traveller Location Mapping so that you know exactly where your people are; or recommending implementation of the new chatbot interfaced mobile app for business travellers that we are unveiling at the Business Travel Show.

Strategic advice is invaluable, but one plan doesn’t fit all, so it makes sense to demand more when it comes to insights, savings and service around your business travel programme.

This blogpost was written by Andy Hegley, UK General Manager, Corporate Traveller (www.corptraveller.co.uk). Visit stand B30 for demonstrations of 'Sam' – the company’s new chatbot and AI integrated mobile app supporting SME travellers on the move.

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