Elements of a strong corporate tourism program


In order to make the most of your corporate budget, it is important to plan the use of your program for whatever it costs. Inviting travelers to choose the lowest logical tickets is simply not enough. Here are the elements to consider when planning or evaluating your travel program.

1. Tourism policy

A well-written and disseminated travel policy is the foundation of any good travel program, and I am invariably amazed because so many corporations have such outdated and ill-conceived travel policies, if they exist at all. It is not difficult to find a well-written policy. They can be found online quite easily. All that remains is that it is edited to reflect the corporate culture and distributed within the company so that everyone understands and agrees to follow it. For this reason, it is advisable for everyone to sign a copy of the travel rules to ensure that they are read, understood and owned by all company employees. I suggest that all participants of the campaign sign a copy of the rules of travel, whether they travel or not. They may later change positions in the company and require travel. Travel policy does not have to be long and complicated. The few best travel politicians I’ve ever seen were just a few pages long.

2. Centralized travel inside and out

Many companies do not centralize their travel program, and they pay the price in terms of loss of opportunities for cost reduction and internal efficiency. Many companies that do not centralize travel have a fear of requiring travelers to do what they may not want to do, along with the idea that you will need to hire a travel manager to centralize travel. Both can cause legitimate problems, but in most cases it shouldn’t be. By requiring travelers to book centrally, you don’t necessarily force them to lose flexibility. You can centralize trips by allowing travelers to book themselves either at the travel agency of your choice or online through a provider you work with and trust. By making someone responsible for overseeing travel, you get a single point of contact both internally and externally for travel issues. If your company spends less than $ 1 million on air travel, you probably don’t need a permanent travel manager. In these cases, travel supervision can be delegated to the finance department, human resources, or even the assistant manager. Here’s a look at the benefits that centralized travel can get.

When you centralize travel to one agency, you get a number of important ways. You will have a single point of contact to solve problems when travelers are on the road and you will need to contact one subject for all your needs. This eliminates the problem of consolidating travel reports from multiple sources. By combining travel, you will greatly benefit from economies of scale. If you can measure total travel between different units or locations, you can get more for your money from travel providers. This will allow you to benefit more from the airline’s soft dollar programs, which means more free tickets and upgrades, get a higher percentage discount from our preferred airline and get better agreed rates from hotel and car contracts. Your performance costs will also decrease as your travel agency often drops the fee for a larger total amount of travel.

3. A combination of online booking and personal service

This is in addition to the previous element, which requires the centralization of trips with a single travel agency. This is important, but in doing so, you don’t need to require travelers to use an online booking system, and you don’t need to require travelers to call the agency directly. By offering travelers the opportunity to do something else, you achieve several goals. You will reduce the cost of execution, as online booking is cheaper in terms of service fees. By enabling travelers, you give them a sense of control, thereby increasing morale and a greater chance of a high level of adoption. Third, you leave behind the best practice of using an online booking mechanism for less complex routes, and allow you to book senior executives, frequent travelers and complex routes directly by a travel agent who can offer a higher level of service and a better overall level of travel experience there. where it is most needed.

4. Look under each stone

While the bulk of most travel programs revolve around the air budget, there are several other areas that can be explored to find savings opportunities. There are a few more obvious destinations, such as the agreed price of hotels in your favorite hotels or discounts on car rentals from a discounted supplier. Often your travel agency will already have reduced rates through membership in consortia and contracts with car agencies. There are also less common areas that should be explored. For example, if land transport is a concern, most providers offer reduced rates and the option of direct payment. Arranging direct bills with hotels and car rental agencies is also a great way to increase efficiency and make accounting easier.

5. Use tough dollar and soft dollar contracts

Most major airlines today offer hard dollar discounts as well as soft dollar incentives in exchange for the company’s loyalty to their product. If your travel program exceeds $ 1 million, you can provide a discount at the lowest fares of your carrier in exchange for market share commitments. For secondary carriers or if the volume is less than the minimum required by the airline, you can sign up for soft dollar programs for free tickets and free upgrades, as well as to improve the status of travelers or admission to the airport club. These programs require little volume, but they are little advertised, so you may need to hunt for them or ask Baker Travel or your current agency to point you in the right direction.

6. Do not neglect the hotel volume

The volume of the hotel is sometimes overlooked, but it should not be. Arrangements can be made in a travel agency or directly in the hotels of your choice. Individual hotels next to corporate organizations will agree on reduced rates in exchange for a minimum room / night rate. Using a travel agency, you are likely to get discounts of 5% to 50% on thousands of hotels around the world.

7. Conclude at least one car rental contract

Car rental contracts are easy to enter into and do not require a small commitment from the corporation. Choose a partner who has an airport and a reputation for excellent customer service. You can save 5-10% very easily and also arrange for frequent membership in employers for all your employees. This will make them more effective and boost morale. You can also simultaneously sign billing contracts, which can make the work of your travelers and accounting staff much less stressful.

8. Understand contracts for groups and meetings

Airlines and hotels reduce fares and fares if you have groups traveling together or meeting in the same direction from multiple departure points. These meeting contracts can bring you discounts on airfare of 2-10%, and if you have enough travelers on one airline, you may be able to arrange free tickets to be assigned at the end of the contract. The minimum requirements are usually 10 travelers heading to the same place at the same time. Some airlines have minimum minimums, so be sure to ask before contracting. Hotels reduce their prices similarly with a minimum of 10 nights. These discounts can range from 10% to a much larger discount depending on occupancy and seasonal fluctuations.

9. Use reporting for continuous performance improvement

Well-managed travel programs require constant monitoring and financial control to make proper use of them. Insist on timely and individualized reports that can be designed to provide you with the information you need most. By receiving regular reports on traveler behavior and supplier contract performance, you will be able to better fulfill contractual obligations, achieve cost reduction goals, and see where there may be opportunities for savings in the future.

10. Use all ways to increase the comfort and efficiency of travelers

Finally, any well-managed travel program will take into account the comfort and performance of its travelers. If travelers are comfortable, they can focus on their top priorities to help grow your business forward. When travelers are satisfied, they perform at a higher level. Ask if your travel agency can upgrade your traveler status to the preferred airline. Pay attention to purchasing blocks of tickets to the airport so that they can be used strategically during long and difficult routes. There are many ways to reward travelers for hard and often grueling work. Such awards generate a sense of loyalty and increase productivity and efficiency.

If you want to learn more about how your company can better use your travel program to benefit your leadership and meet your management level, feel free to contact me. I am happy to point you in the right direction.