Whatever the size of your organization, being efficient with business travel spend and avoiding unnecessary costs is paramount to your success. And if your company has a cost-conscious culture, it's especially important to have the right technology in place to help you manage spend and maintain a healthy bottom line. You need technology that will help you visualize your data to control your travel spend and reduce administrative tasks to give more time back to your employees.
If your organization is growing, you may find that your once-efficient travel program is no longer supporting your business the way it should and that you need the help of a travel management company (TMC). Unmanaged business travel — managed internally, without support — has the potential to become unwieldy. Spend and administration can spiral out of control if the travel program isn't scaled in line with the organization's growth and evolution. This is why a managed travel program is essential.
A fundamental way to support your brand's agility and cost-conscious culture is to ensure you partner with organizations that share your values and understand the importance of moving quickly while remaining cost-effective.
How does managed travel help you save?
First and foremost, managed business travel allows you to use technology to empower your travelers to take charge of booking and amending their travel. A good TMC will then use that same technology to apply your policies to those bookings within one platform. This means you can maintain control over travel spend and policy compliance, without needing to transfer bookings through a small bottleneck of administrative staff.
An unmanaged travel program simply doesn't scale well. If you need one extra travel administrator for every five additional travelers, you're going to end up with a lot of new administrative staff as the number of your travelers grows. You may be shooting for savings by using these people as gatekeepers for travel services and policy enforcement, but in the end, you’ll lose out on any economies of scale. Moreover, you're subject to the possibility of human error, which only increases with the number of humans you introduce to what can be a demanding and complicated process. Sticking with an unmanaged travel approach as your business scales upward will make your overall savings become negligible.
With a TMC looking after your business travel management program, you’ll avoid the need for a contingent of people booking travel. When your TMC has the right technology for the job, you can put your travelers in control and give them access to the entire selection of options for their trips that fall within policy. That way they can quickly and easily book the option that best meets their needs and stay compliant.
When it becomes easy for your travelers to self-book the options that meet their needs and stay within your travel policy, compliance increases. In fact, our customers average more than 80 percent compliance because they have a managed travel program. Can you say the same if you have an unmanaged travel program?
Finding further savings
Once everyone is booking through the same platform, you'll start to gather a set of data that you can then use to your company's advantage. You’ll have the opportunity to go beyond simply reporting on costs, and can see where there are opportunities to build in better efficiencies to help you save time and money.
For example, you may discover that there is a particular property or car rental company that your team uses frequently. Now, you can leverage that information to negotiate group discounts. And if you're already doing that, it's worth noting how managed travel can help you further improve your approach.
With a managed travel program, you can tap into a much bigger network of travelers outside of your company. A TMC that supports your cost-conscious culture should be using its power and influence to negotiate the best rates based on its total customer and traveler base, and can often gain favorable rates that you'd potentially find challenging to negotiate on your own. As part of the Expedia Group, we can offer you a vast selection of travel options with an enormous choice across multiple locations. And if you already have negotiated rates with suppliers in a particular area, we can support you with additional options.
Happy travelers are compliant travelers
One of your highest costs as a business is recruitment and retention of employees. Your people are your biggest asset and employee engagement is the new battleground for having a competitive advantage.
Your customers are far more likely to be happy and loyal if they're dealing with an engaged, satisfied employee who has positive business travel experiences. Therefore, your business depends on employee satisfaction. According to Forbes, "To truly enjoy their jobs, employees must feel that their employers respect them and will provide them with what they need to be successful in both their professional and personal lives." 
What could be more empowering and supportive for an employee who travels than putting the booking of their travel into their hands? And making it simple. With a managed travel program from a TMC that supports your cost-conscious culture, you get to do that and simultaneously maintain the big-picture around overall spend limits with a policy that's woven into the booking experience.
How do you know if it's time for managed business travel?
There are a few key indicators to look out for in your organization to see if managed travel is the right next step for you:
- Is there an administrative bottleneck when travelers need to book or amend trips?
- Are there travel credits going unused or unclaimed because no one is able to manage the different places these may be stored?
- Are you getting feedback or hearing rumors that your business travelers are dissatisfied with the booking process or restrictions around travel bookings?
- Are you finding that as your overall program grows, compliance with travel policy is declining?
Any one of these scenarios is a good reason to start looking for a managed travel solution — and the sooner, the better. Your TMC will be a critical partner to your business, and it's essential to select a partner with a vision that matches yours.
If savings is important to your company’s culture, it's vital that your TMC is aligned with this goal. The TMC must deliver an efficient, cost-effective solution without impacting traveler satisfaction. A TMC should equip travel managers with the technology they need to do their jobs as quickly and efficiently as possible, empowering them to do their best work and helping your travel program deliver the best value possible.
Ready to learn more about corporate travel management in a cost-conscious company culture? Read the white paper, “How business travel supports a cost-conscious culture.”