These days, all companies are looking for ways to save money on their business travel and one time-tested and proven method is very often overlooked. That is analysis of your company’s business travel data. It’s not exciting or sexy but it is something that all companies with well-managed travel programs do routinely to control costs.
I always ask a prospective client how much they spend on travel each year. Very often, the people I meet with do not really know the answer. If they don’t, I then ask them approximately how many trips they take each month. Usually, I get a little bit more information from this question but, sometimes, an educated guess is about the best I can hope for. When I do not get a satisfactory answer to either of these questions, I know that this company could benefit from a more closely managed travel program beginning with data. Honestly, I’m really not that concerned about the amount they spend but rather on how much they actually know about their travel spend. It helps me to gauge their current level of “travel management” and, more importantly, how I might be able to assist them.
Travel data and intelligent analysis of it is the cornerstone of a well-managed corporate travel program. Companies need to know how much they are spending on travel, where they are spending too much and where there are opportunities for savings.
I always encourage new clients to work with me in developing a data template that works for their unique situation and reflects the values that are important to them. Together, we set priorities and objectives. Then I send that data to them every month and, if possible, we go over it together. Usually, after collecting a few months of data, patterns start to emerge and, then and only then, real progress towards agreed objectives can be tracked.
Very often, corporate travelers are given several flight options and, for various reasons, do not not accept the Lowest Fares. I highly recommend that corporate clients adopt a set of “Reason Codes” to show why the Lowest Fare is not being taken. Sometimes the Lowest Fare is just simply not the best option for the traveler. Maybe he or she needs to fly on a very strict schedule or maybe needs a flexible ticket. However, sometimes, the Reason Codes can reveal both where there might be gaps or leakage in the travel policy and where there are real opportunities to increase savings. Using Reason Codes as part of your travel policy can be a very powerful tool in helping your company identify areas where savings can be made. These Reason Codes can also be used for hotels to track why the lowest rate or preferred hotel was not chosen. A few dollars on a flight or hotel here and there do not seem to amount to much but multiply that over a year and it can add up to a sizeable amount of “Missed Savings”.
Data reporting can also assist you in identifying top suppliers and destinations, giving you the ability to secure optimal supplier deals with airlines and hotels. With both, if you can reach certain minimum thresholds, we can assist you in negotiating a discounted corporate agreement but we need data to substantiate it. Armed with air and hotel data, we can assist you in securing the most favorable supplier agreements.
These are just a few of the ways in which data reporting and the intelligent analysis of it by a professional TMC can help your company cut costs on travel. At Global Travel, we know how important data reporting is for our corporate clients and we take great pride in the quality of the data we provide them with. We can develop a customized travel data reporting program for your company and deliver that data to you monthly at no charge. It is increasingly becoming a data driven world and data is power. Let me show you how to put it to work for your company.