There are two types of people in the world – the people whose eyes turn into hearts when they see a spreadsheet full of numbers and whose hearts burst at the thought of calculating answers that include a decimal point, and there are those whose palms sweat and who look for the nearest escape route.
The good news is, no matter which category you fall into, you can get a handle on the numbers behind your business’ travel and use them to make significant savings.
The likelihood is, if you’re a numeric buff then you’re already knee-deep in the ins and outs of how your team travel; costs, budgets, average fares etc. However, if you’re not then there’s no need to panic – we’ve pulled together this simple, straightforward guide to reviewing your business travel, helping you to quickly identify areas for improvement (and improvement usually means savings…):
1. Lead time
It should come as no surprise that booking ahead of time and giving as long a lead time as possible between time of booking and time of travel opens up access to lower rates on air and rail tickets, providing an opportunity to make tangible savings. In order to understand how to score the best rates you need to know your average advance booking period for all booking types.
This will allow you to assess traveller behaviour and consider how it needs to be changed in order to increase lead times and, ultimately, make savings on your travel spend – for example, is your overall spend healthier when your team booked further in advance? If so, then perhaps it’s time to think of how to improve your lead time…
2. Average rates
These are the average rates that you pay for all types of bookings broken down by route or location; for example, hotels in Manchester or train journeys to London. When analysing this data it’s worth considering how this fluctuates year on year and what have you done differently as a business that could have contributed towards these changes. To calculate your average rates, break down your spend into locations or routes and divide by the number of nights or bookings.
Your business’ average rates are a clear way to see what practices and systems are working; if you’re looking to continually improve and reduce the amount that you’re spending on travel over time then this these are the numbers for you.
3. % of ticket types
Spotting trends in the types of tickets that your team are booking allows you to spot trends in your team’s behaviour; knowing whether tickets are fixed or flexible, or economy or business class, will not only help to inform your travel policy, but can also help you to identify cost saving opportunities.
Introducing new travel policy terms that limit, or rule out, the booking of certain types of tickets (particularly ‘anytime’ rail tickets!) can have a real impact when it comes to reducing your travel spend.
4. % of policy compliant bookings
Many businesses tick ‘creating a travel policy’ off their to-do list, send it round on an email and then never think about it again, but tracking the rate of travel policy compliance within your business is the best way to gain real control of your business travel and see savings that are more than a fluke flash in the pan.
Once you’ve ensured that your travel policy is clearly defined and communicated then you will be able to measure the amount of bookings that are made within, and most importantly, outside of it – you can then use this information to update any areas that aren’t working and in turn guide traveller behaviour towards achieving goals that are in line with those of your business.