1. Create and enforce a travel policy
For the majority of SMEs buying business travel is unstructured and unmanaged, with travellers operating without policy costing the company time and money. By following the five fundamentals of travel management, SMEs can successfully buy travel smarter, cut costs and get more for their money.
A well-crafted policy is at the heart of anysuccessful corporate travel programme. Your travel policy should be designed to control spending (encouraging them to book ahead, look at the total cost of travel, for example) and steer the travel booker/individual travellers towards preferred suppliers (loyalty pays) while also giving them enough flexibility to meet their trip needs.
2. Choose the right TMC
Travel management companies play a crucial role in supporting your travel programme but it’s important that you find the one that’s right for you. If you book overseas travel, you may wish to use a TMC that is a member of a global consortium such as TravelSavers or Global Star Travel Management. You may also wish to use a TMC that provides a 24 hour service.
If you have a small business travel budget, then a mid-sized TMC will work better for you. Choose a TMC that has a full suite of travel technology in place that looks after, not just reservations, but security tracking, mobile apps and live booking.
If your travellers rarely travel internationally, then consider using hotel and rail booking agents instead of a TMC.
3. Introduce a self-booking tool and maximise adoption
Many organisations book some of their travel through an online reservations tool, but the real work starts once you have chosen your technology provider. Learn how to implement a booking tool to maximise adoption and bring down processing and travel costs while keeping your travellers onside.
4. Learn to get more for your money from travel suppliers
SMEs may not have the spending power to negotiate discounts with business travel suppliers, but remaining loyal to a limited number of preferred suppliers will pay off. By signing up for programmes that reward companies AND travellers, you can use kickbacks – such as free upgrades – to get more for your money. Most major airlines and hotel groups operate reward schemes and the good news is that, thanks to the recession, they are on the rise.
5. Always consider the safety, security and sustainability of your travellers and travel policy
Good travel management isn’t just about finding the best price. Corporate social responsibility issues are increasingly important, too, including looking after employees’ safety and security on the move and, for many companies, reducing their travel-related environmental impact.
These tips were provided by David Chapple, the event director of the Business Travel Show, Europe’s leading corporate travel event and organiser of the world’s largest hosted buyer programme for travel buyers.
The Five Fundamentals of Travel Management form the basis of a series of free to attend conference sessions at the Business Travel Show, which takes place 5-6 February 2013 at Earls Court in London. With more than 200 suppliers, 50 conference sessions and a variety of networking opportunities, it’s the ultimate business travel destination for all travel bookers and buyers. Entry is free – simply register atwww.businesstravelshow.com.