Technology has changed the way travel managers approach requests for proposal. Access to data has helped to make negotiations simpler and more transparent. And travel managers have the opportunity to leverage more traveler information than ever before.
As a travel manager, you don’t need to approach a request for proposal (RFP) with armfuls of information, but there are key metrics you’ll want on hand. Be prepared with insights on how the current travel program is measuring up. Include details like the hotel chain’s share of wallet, new destinations with no negotiated hotels, and overall hotel spend. Tools like the Egencia Analytics Studio make it easy for you to access this information quickly. And the simplicity of pulling the results can support your negotiation strategies and help you prepare for your supplier reviews throughout the year.
Key areas to focus on include-
1. Understanding your program’s needs
When negotiating an RFP, you must consider a variety of factors which depend on what’s important to your company. Identify frequently visited cities, distance to your office, the average length of hotel stays and the most popular amenities. Since policy compliance is a priority for travel managers, it’s important to know these things about your hotel program. That way, you can remove options in less-visited areas or figure out why your travelers aren’t staying in preferred hotels.
Advanced reporting tools from your Travel Management Company (TMC) can help you uncover what’s performing best in your travel program. This helps when negotiating contracts, as it’s based on your company’s unique traveler needs.
2. Aligning with company culture
Company culture plays an important role in supplier and customer relationships. At Egencia, we put customers first, and we look for hotel partners that provide exceptional customer service and amenities.
Travel managers need to consider how a managed travel program will impact their broader company culture. For example, a company with a strong wellness culture could select hotel partners with free fitness amenities to reinforce their values.
3. Traveler satisfaction
People want and demand more from their travel experience, both for business and leisure. Technology has changed the way we book, and experience travel. And business travelers expect the same convenience in leisure and work.
Travelers want personalized experiences throughout their travel journey. The latest in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning helps to deliver the right options at the right time – across any compatible device. At Egencia, our new technologies give managed travelers more options to find, book and reach their accommodation when and how they want to.
There is no one-size-fits-all style business trip and travelers want an element of choice in their travel. Travelers on extended trips may prefer an apartment to a hotel for example and Egencia has been increasing its alternative accommodation options to support.
4. Empowering employees
Employees are a company’s greatest asset. And a managed travel program can give companies a competitive edge when it comes to employee retention and recruitment. Businesses can demonstrate employee value by offering simple travel benefits and perks.
A seamless travel experience – across any device and all aspects of the traveler journey – makes for satisfied employees. When employees have user-friendly, familiar booking tools, they’re more likely to use them. And more employee adoption means increased program compliance.
Personalization is important in business travel. It creates deeper and more meaningful relationships with travelers by serving up what they want and need.
On the Egencia platform, we use data to understand our customers and deliver more personalized experiences. Predictive technology enables us to look at individual travel habits and preferences. This encourages policy compliance, through the delivery of meaningful hotel and air results.
People are constantly on the go. So, convenience, ease of use, and flexibility are must-haves for a travel program. This is where a global business travel platform comes into play. People can pull up all their travel plans in one place and book or change a trip on-the-go.
Egencia gives your travelers tools that work and empowers them to use them across multiple applications.
7. SMEs and traveler technology
Partnering with a TMC who has a global platform can help companies of any size get more efficient. Travel managers can cut back on the amount of time spent on consolidating their online and offline data to pull reports and see everything in one view. Also, small and medium-sized businesses can easily consolidate multiple travel programs as they grow and expand. Using a single online travel platform with global scale puts everything in one place.
AI and machine learning have completely revolutionized the travel industry. Now travel managers have smart and actionable insights at their fingertips. These enable them to better manage their travel programs, boost compliance and pull invaluable reports.
Egencia delivers a fully-integrated global business travel platform. This gives managers complete visibility into all aspects of their program – all in one place.
RFPs give travel managers the opportunity to really put their data to work. Make sure your current or future TMC, and additional hotel suppliers, are going to be able to support and adapt to your business travel needs.
There’s more than one approach to business travel. Want to know how fast-growing software business, Splunk, uses Egencia’s global platform and state-of-the-art technology to manage corporate travel? Watch the video to learn more.
This article first appeared on LinkedIn.