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A conference in Australia, an incentive to the Seychelles, teambuilding in the Drakensberg, road-showing across Europe – whatever the reason for an organisation’s national or international group travel, a well-documented, well-implemented and well-monitored travel policy will add hugely to the travelling team’s efficiency, comfort and safety; and reduce travel cost by up to 30 percent.
According to research conducted by the Chartered Institute for Procurement and Supply (CIPS), the largest procurement professional body in the world, travel suppliers tend to give their best deals to those companies who can demonstrate a travel policy that works. *
“However, organisations are all different in size, structure and culture,” says Sharon Nash, Director for Club Travel Corporate, an internationally award-winning leader in the business travel industry. “Therefore when it comes to travel policies, one size does not fit all.”
Larger organisations with a hierarchical structure may prefer to book staff’s air travel and accommodation according to seniority within the business, i.e. executives and top management fly business class while other staff flies economy class, or perhaps it is dependent on the length of the flight. Another factor is risk mitigation; booking different flights to ensure that not all key personnel are on the same flight and some key managers are at all times accessible to the business.
“Accommodation types will also vary according to organisation size, type and culture,” says Sharon. “Large corporations tend to prefer fully catered hotel accommodation opposed to informal bed-and-breakfast accommodation, which may be the preference for smaller companies. These decisions along with, for example, how an organisation accommodates religious, cultural and dietary differences need to be covered in a comprehensive travel policy.”
Each organisation has to find a travel policy that suits its size, travel pattern and culture. Yet for all these unique considerations, the importance of getting travel expense right is universal.
If an organisation uses a reputable travel management company (TMC) with time-proven insight into its culture and is fully up-to-date with its travel policy, the benefits are immense. The organisation gets decades of travel industry knowledge and expertise every time they make contact with the TMC. The consultants know them, their organisation and exactly what the organisation’s priorities are. They use this information to acquire the very best deals with suppliers.
Without the expertise of a TMC, it can be daunting to know what to do in an emergency. With a proactive and reactive travel management expert partnering with them, organisations are assured of valuable assistance. They’ll receive travel alerts and be able to track traveller locations. They know their travellers are in good hands.
A number of organisations prefer the independence and perceived saving of self-booking via an on-line booking tool with on-the-ground services handled by a TMC.
Whether organisations prefer the managed group travel of a TMC or the unmanaged self-booking opportunities provided by on-line booking tools, the need for a travel policy that is adhered to by all their travellers remains an imperative.
“A well-designed, simply-worded document developed with the input of all stakeholders – from finance and operations to human resources – that clearly sets out what is required from travellers each time they embark on a corporate journey, enhances their experience, ensures their safety and saves their organisation money,” concludes Sharon.