The Impetus for Efficient Travel Management
Since 2008 and the global financial crisis, corporations have been on more-than-normal regimes of cost-cutting on every aspect of business than normal. Cost-cutting programs that have always existed of course, but clearly one could agree these ‘leaning’ programs are more prevalent today and this of course set the scene for efficient travel management strategies!
Business travel is classified as the 2nd or 3rd highest controllable costs for many corporations (after wages) but clearly also a necessity for business growth – thus clearly in juxtaposition! So how does one reconcile the $ cost of business travel with the critical need for growing or even protecting one’s business?
One of the answers was or still is, having well defined travel management strategies. However, efficient travel management strategies do not happen overnight, they occur through a slow and painful process of trial-and-error. Starting with some loosely defined controls, on budgets, rules on fare (economy vs business), or how many days one must need to book before travel, etc… this was all without much vision or global-financial cohesion, but at least a first attempt at controlling the easily definable direct costs, based mostly on common travel-industry best practices.
Industry research on over 600 corporations show that a well designed Travel Policy (a simple one – based on 5 points) and more importantly one that is systematically enforced, can help corporations save up-to 22% on total Travel & Expense (T&E) costs. Some might say “well we already have some travel policy criteria”! Thats great! Really! But the question is do you all 5 and ALL the time, no exceptions? Mmmm good but tricky question.
Rise of Travel Arranger
Continuing on the evolution of good travel management strategies, we now typically see the placement of a ‘travel manager‘. Someone responsible and in-charge of making critical decisions on how travel should be managed. But where does he/she come from? Travel managers dont just appear out of thin air?!
And voila!! the rise from the travel arranger. These typically blossomed from positions of secretarial nature helping employees (and mostly managers) book their travel needs and this was usually done via email or phone. Market research indicates that we can see an average of 8 calls/emails to finalise one single booking! Very manual intensive and time-consuming one could agree. And that is pretty much where the buck stops in relation to travel responsibilities. Nothing more. Simply processing those requests.