In our increasingly global world, more and more companies dedicate a significant amount of resources to their travel needs. In fact, the Global Business Travel Association estimates that in the United States alone, the number of business trips every year is approaching 500 million. Since 2009, that constitutes an increase in travel volume of almost 40 percent.
Professionals in your company may commute between various corporate offices. They might meet corporate clients in different parts of the country and globe, or hold presentations to essential stakeholders. Whatever the reason, travel has become an indisputable part of modern business life.
Planning that travel, and keeping every department accountable, can be difficult in this increased volume. As you spend thousands and more on your team’s trips, you have to keep the planning centralized to pool resources, save costs, and increase efficiency.
That’s where travel management enters the equation. In a recent post, we already covered five primary benefits of corporate travel management. Keep reading for five additional advantages a partnership with a reliable corporate travel agency.
1) A Strategic Approach to Managing Corporate Travel
Too often, corporate travel occurs on an ad-hoc basis. An employee needs to get to a destination, so they (or their assistant) books the trip. In that process, the strategy that should be involved in your travel management quickly gets lost.
Coordination is vital, especially if you want to make the process more efficient. You need to be able to keep track of everyone, at all times. The benefits of this strategic approach range from increased cost-effectiveness, all the way to better transparency for every professional in your company currently in the air.
The right corporate travel management partner can even help you build, adjust, and improve your travel policy. A more standardized process, in turn, will help you streamline anything from standardized expensing to a more streamlined booking process.
2) Dedicated Expertise in the Booking and Travel Process
Do you know the variables involved in the booking process? Those variables can go far beyond merely booking a seat on a plane and a hotel room. Coordination has to include airport transportation, baggage restrictions and opportunities, and more.
If your team has to transport trade show materials or other bulky baggage, that situation only becomes more complicated. Here, working with a dedicated partner can be the key to success. One result of the partnership, as discussed in my previous post, will be reduced rates as your agency finds the best possible prices at given times.
But ideally, expertise in the booking process ranges far beyond price. Itineraries continually update, and any member of your team is traveling or about to travel needs to be kept updated. Dedicated experts help you stay up to date on this vital information.
3) Dashboarding Software for Centralized Information
Increasingly, businesses and departments are moving to dashboarding systems for better data-based decision making. In marketing, finance, and sales, these dashboards provide a succinct and easy to understand overview of the most relevant information needed to make decisions in real time.
Wouldn’t it be great if the same type of tool existed for managing your company’s travel efforts? It turns out that it does. When you work with the right agency, a portal-based system both streamlines booking and allows you to track all essential travel information. The result is more informed management and more comfortable travel for everyone involved.
4) Ongoing, Flexible Support for Individual Travelers and Account Managers
We all know that travel can be involved. When something goes wrong, it tends to set up a chain reaction that makes the entire trip more complicated.
One professional cannot travel because they caught an illness. Another is stuck in traffic and will miss the flight. An airplane is delayed, resulting in a missed shuttle pickup. No matter how much you plan, these types of unforeseen incidents happen. The key to success is flexibility, especially as it relates to managing your travel.
Your organization probably doesn’t have the time to make a call directly to the airline to rebook or cancel a flight. Through a corporate travel partner, that type of support gets centralized and becomes more flexible.
5) Auditing Reports to Ensure Accountability Across the Organization
Finally, more strategic travel management increases accountability across your organization. Expenses are necessary to report and track, both for internal budgeting purposes and external tax laws. Too often, this tracking gets lost as countless employees book flights, stay in hotels, and pursue other travel opportunities.
Because of the significant expense that travel represents, even small discrepancies here can make a substantial difference in your budget. Corporate travel management helps you stay on track, continually monitoring for these types of differences and making sure that when they occur, they can be easily fixed and accounted for.
Of course, you also have to consider the price of this type of initiative. A partnership will need to include a budget as well as an organizational commitment.
But given the cost and efficiency benefits of corporate travel management, this investment is likely to bring significant positive returns for your organization down the road. Especially if travel is a core component of your daily operations, the centralization opportunities of this approach are immense.
Over the past few decades in the travel industry, I have seen the countless benefits that corporate travel management can provide. Are you currently taking advantage of these types of services? If so, I’d love to hear about your experience with them.