By Caleb MacIlvaine, senior product marketing manager
These days everyone is looking for ways to be more efficient with their corporate travel budget. While travel is slow, take the time to optimize your travel program. You can fine tune your policy now, so you won’t miss a beat when business travel picks back up.
While it may be tempting to just cut back on travel to curb spend, there are smarter ways to do more with less. There may be more hidden savings in your business travel program than you previously thought.
One of your best savings levers is to evaluate your travel data to uncover hidden opportunities. Egencia Analytics Studio is a powerful suite of visual business intelligence dashboards that gives you the ability to drill down into your program data to mine for optimizations and savings opportunities. Here are three areas for you to look for savings with the new Benchmarking dashboard.
Look at top destinations by travel spend, top brands by spend
Looking at top destinations by hotel spend — hotels that may be near your corporate offices or top client locations — is a great place to start. Layering on the data of your top hotel brands by spend and room rates allows you to pinpoint which hotels to target in specific locations.
For instance, if Chicago is one of your top destinations because your company is headquartered there and you have a preferred brand that is your top hotel chain by overall spend, locate one of the properties close to your desired location and negotiate a special rate. If your company is trying to reduce its carbon footprint, you can use this in parallel with the Carbon Emissions dashboard to negotiate with an eco-friendly hotel supplier. It’s possible that you can also include perks like breakfast, free Wi-Fi, or parking discount in exchange for consolidating your business with them. To help with your negotiations, in Analytics Studio you can find historical counts for hotel room nights at any location where you’ve booked travel.
Figure 1: The Insights section of the Benchmarking dashboard gives you actionable insights into spend and travel behaviors to optimize your travel program.
Another potential for savings is top airline routes. For example, if your business travelers frequent the Chicago to Boston (ORD:BOS) route because your top client is in Boston, you can pull the number of flights and what you’ve spent on that route to make your case for negotiating special rates with airlines. You can offer to consolidate your business in exchange for discounted fares on that particular route. Or you could look at the built-in savings you get with Egencia Savings Finder for Air and Hotel. You can use historical data to understand if there is an area you can negotiate by gathering insights into the average savings data of routes and cities that account for the most optimized bookings and savings.
The data available to you is also applicable if you have a new location that you’ll frequent often because of a new client, project, or office opening. Start by identifying the most used routes to the new destination and contact your preferred airline to ask what they can do for you in return for volume. It’s also a good time to negotiate with your preferred hotel chain in close proximity to the new location.
Don’t forget about ground transportation. It’s projected that most travel will pick up first with regional and domestic trips; international travel will follow. To ensure your company is getting the best rates on domestic transportation like train tickets and car rentals, review the data to see if there is room to improve on that spend.
Benchmarking your business travel program
Benchmarking, a new dashboard in Analytics Studio, is another portal to potential negotiation rates and levers. You can choose to benchmark against companies with a spend similar to yours or benchmark against country you booked in. For instance, if you see that companies of a similar size are spending significantly less on specific routes or at hotels your travelers frequent, use these insights to reach out to your suppliers and negotiate a lower rate.
You can take this opportunity to review your travel policy and, more specifically, the city spend caps in your policy. Thanks to your benchmarking data, you can identify if the hotel rate cap your travel policy allows for each destination is adapted to current market conditions. You can make the decision to revise some of them or choose to implement hotel caps by city if you don’t have one in your travel policy.
Negotiations with suppliers can be a win-win for your company. Leveraging volume saves money. Bundling in perks boosts incentive for business travelers to book in policy, which means they can take more trips for the same cost or travel the same amount while saving money.
And once you have negotiated deals with your preferred suppliers, don’t forget to tell your Egencia account manage. They’ll ensure your negotiated rates will be displayed for booking by your travelers on the Egencia website and mobile app.
By strategically targeting high impact areas for supplier negotiations, you’ll be able to make the most out of your travel spend and keep your travelers happy.