Establish the right goals for your organization's travel program.
• Implement effective benchmarking to measure your success.
• Request and analyze detailed reports from your travel management company.
• Survey the right mix of team members with the right questions.
• Identify further opportunities to save time and money.
I recently spoke to the travel decision maker at a government
contractor, who told me his travel program was going well. When I asked
him what "well" meant, he said that nobody was complaining, so he
considered it a success. I asked, "Do you track cost savings or
productivity gains?" He said no.
This strikes me as a troublesome
waste of our tax dollars. Travel is the second largest controllable
cost for the average U.S. organization; for most companies that means a
lot of money. There are lots of ways to book travel, and without a
clear-cut policy on how it should be done, travelers will make purchases
based on their personal preferences or interpretation of value -- and
in most instances they will take quite some time to do it. In other
words, a little analysis into how it's going can reveal a lot of
What to Measure How do you define success? How
about comparing your organization's average domestic and international
ticket costs to overall averages through an organization like Topaz International? This can be the basis for a powerful
money-saving conversation with your team and travel management company
"You cannot know where you stand unless you measure, and
you cannot improve unless you measure your travel program the right
way," notes Bradley Seitz, president and CEO of Topaz. "Effective
benchmarking is part of a complete quality program and can even be done
more succinctly by city pairs."
Other important benchmarks can
include time savings as the result of a streamlined booking process,
data collection and bill processing targets, online vs. call-in usage of
the TMC, preferred vendor support, hotel and car cost averages, service
parameters, security measures, policy compliance, ancillary airline
fees and analysis of how travel relates to overall business goals.
Your TMC should be able to provide detailed reports, too.
Exception reports compare the fare selected to the lowest fare in the
market, noting the reason as to why the lowest price was not selected.
Executive summaries can show average ticket costs, online adoption
rates, change fees and more. Data like this can identify policy changes
that can further reduce front-end and back-end costs.
can determine satisfaction, but be careful. Too often only travelers are
surveyed. A good program balances the needs and goals of the travelers
as well as the objectives of the corporation. The survey sample should
include equal numbers of procurement/finance/executive team members and
road warriors/schedulers. This travel squad should be selected wisely,
and the survey questions must be carefully written to reflect the
standpoints of all the stakeholders in this process.
Reap the Rewards The
payoff for your efforts: Establishing an effective travel program can
reduce this sizeable expense by around 20 percent or more.
don't stop there. Integrating a well-honed travel and entertainment
process into your overall operation will identify even more
opportunities for improvement, such as expense report integration,
security systems integration and more. Why not get started?