So, you’ve been given the mammoth task of fixing the tangled business travel situation in your organisation.
You might have travel bookers scouring the internet for the best deals on a daily basis, you may have historic relationships with hotels making invisible savings with ‘back of cigarette box’ corporate rates or you might have a travel management company (TMC) in place at the moment and it’s time to review.
Whatever the situation, you’ll want to make sure that this is a smooth process and that in the end the right TMC is chosen. Here’s all the information to have at hand when talking to new suppliers to ensure that you get something that’s the right fit for your organisation and your travellers.
Step 1: Investigate your current situation
First things first, what does your business travel situation look like at the moment? Find out answers to those key questions that are going to drive your project moving forward.
- Who? How many employees are affected by travel and how much time/ effort is booking this taking up for them?
- What? What’s your travel spend and the distribution of this across different travel types?
- Where? What are the company’s regular travel destinations? Do you have negotiated rates for certain hotels?
- How? Do you have a travel policy in place? How is this enforced? How do you know this is the most dynamic policy possible for your company?
- Money? How are you currently paying for travel? Is this the most efficient way that you could be doing this? Find out how long it takes finance to organise and understand your travel spend, and how long travelers spend processing their expenses.
Step 2: Involve key stakeholders
Involving key stakeholders from the very beginning is a sure-fire way to ensure that you have full enthusiasm and investment in the TMC that you bring on board, whilst also double-checking that you haven’t missed out any top priorities.
- Who? This is from travelers themselves and bookers, right through to finance – find out who is making the most noise about travel and ensure they are involved; they can make or break the success of the solution you choose.
- What? What do they love about travel at the moment? What do they want to change? Try to keep these realistic – no TMC is going to be able to get you a free upgrade to business class every time…
- Where? You know your company best. Is it better to get everyone together and hash it out, or would it be more productive to send separate memos out to each department?
- How? Getting clear feedback based on focused questions you have put together could be a good way to keep things on track
- Money? A lot of the time there is tension caused when staff are spending their own wages and claiming that money back, so is everyone happy with the way travel is being paid for? Or is your organisation paying for travel on company credit cards? Who is in charge of these and how is this managed? It’s important to understand any headaches that payment could currently be causing so you can know what issues need solving.
Step 3: Formulate your top priorities
Once you have a good grasp of your current travel situation and have received feedback from the relevant people within the organisation, you can start putting together some key objectives.
- Who? Who will be booking travel? Will this roll out to a team of bookers or will it be the job of the travelers themselves? The answers to these questions will influence the type of solution you are looking for.
- What? What are your top three priorities that would fall into ‘must-haves’ – differentiate these from your ‘nice-to-haves’
- Where? Where are you willing to compromise on a solution? Do you need a global solution or can you work with a company that is more specialized to UK travel?
- How? Will you want users to have access to a self-booking tool? Do you want to drive online adoption?
- Money? Online adoption is proven to save companies money on their business travel, lower booking fees and increase efficiency, along with a well formulated travel policy and an understanding of how to best influence your traveller behavior
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