For small to mid-sized companies that have struggled with implementing consistent travel policies and processes, the continually shifting post-COVID landscape has further shown the importance of transitioning to a managed corporate travel program.
Potential risks both abroad and at home are becoming more frequent, while an inflationary economy underscores the need for streamlined features that save time and money. There is also an increased demand for digital, secure systems that offer efficient solutions and align with core company goals and mission objectives.
A travel management company (TMC) can help address these business needs with travel services and tools that support your company’s travelers as well as the bottom line. When your company partners with the right TMC, it can provide an ideal balance between traveler compliance, safety, and comfort while simultaneously enhancing company culture and reaching core goals. Here are five key benefits of making the move to a managed travel program.
Increased Cost Savings
When employees book travel within a company’s managed travel program, it reduces costs and supports strategic goals. Managed travel provides employees with access to perks and benefits not available through third-party booking sites. Pre-negotiated rates between travel programs and suppliers give employees the full picture, real-time product information, and reliable pricing. When employees book outside of a managed travel program, they risk purchasing fares at above market rates with limited flexibility.
Businesses moving to a managed travel program can also use tools like price tracking technology to cut costs. This is particularly the case as the industry experiences record volatility and greater fluctuating rates. Our price tracking solution, Direct Price Assurance, regularly checks rates and automatically rebooks travelers at a lower rate when available. With 1 in 5 bookings rebooked at a better rate, your company can experience major savings.
Managed travel through a TMC also helps save employees time while lessening the workload for travel managers. For example, unused ticket tracking automatically applies credits to future business trips to ensure efficient spend. This technology is backed by a designated agent team that can help employees and travel managers with complicated trips. Armed with expertise and excellent account management capabilities, travel advisors are prepared to guide and simplify travel for a safe and seamless journey.
Improved Policy Compliance
Managed travel goes hand-in-hand with policy compliance and strengthens supplier relationships. It also contributes to vital data sets used for program changes and improvements. Travel booked outside of policy not only undermines healthy supplier relationships, but also presents a risk to both the traveler and the organization.
In an unmanaged travel scenario, an employee must assume the burden of changes and adjustments which often involves research, phone calls, and needlessly waiting on hold, taking the focus away from important business activities. Rescheduling flights and making reservations are streamlined when utilizing a managed travel platform, which immediately sends an updated itinerary to the affected traveler.
It's important to note that without a clear travel policy and taking steps to foster compliance, limited support is available to employees when something goes wrong. In many cases, a travel manager won’t have the leverage to help with cancelled flights or an overbooked hotel. Most third-party booking tools have limited customer service capabilities and narrow loyalty depth compared to managed travel through a TMC.
Enhanced Risk Management
Managed travel enhances duty of care and includes robust risk management tools. Without a customized tech stack and thoroughly evaluated risk management policies, employees could encounter serious travel obstacles. Alarmingly—as Direct Travel's Brian Robertson, President of Canada West, recently pointed out—a mere 5% of companies give employees concrete instructions on emergency procedures and only 12% have set up a primary contact in the event of an emergency.
A managed travel program includes a strong focus on duty of care and pre-trip authorization that identifies and targets potential threats along with possible danger zones. Rogue travel is risky and can put employees in unhealthy situations that leave them vulnerable at difficult security checkpoints; some may even become stranded without access to direct communication tools that are designed for safety. At Direct Travel, we partner with Crisis24 to eliminate such gaps and help keep travelers safe and connected.
One other major consideration within risk management policy: cyber security. When employees book within a managed travel tech platform, their data is captured by a secure network which reduces the risk of a security breach or identity theft. A trusted travel partner helps keep both your data and your team protected.
Efficient Expense Management
The time-consuming and tedious task of managing expenses is made less challenging within a managed travel program. Travel managers require sufficient time for core management responsibilities that directly affect the company’s bottom line and should not be burdened with tracking down expense report paper trails. In a managed travel program, key travel data and receipts are swiftly captured and digitally organized, saving valuable time for employees and travel managers.
Rather than relying on paper receipts—which can be cumbersome and easily lost with an unmanaged travel environment—documentation can be uploaded through a user-friendly app, making processing and re-imbursement quick and accurate. This also protects your organization from employees who might take advantage of lax expense reporting rules, a common occurrence within the realm of unmanaged travel.
Simplified Reporting & ROI Measurement
Capturing accurate and reliable data is a detailed, technical process that can take hours from the business day. If essential travel data is not properly utilized and organized, reports can be misleading, which adversely affects a company’s strategies and objectives.
Trip data booked through a managed travel software system is processed with true, real-time data for quality analysis and easy report generation. This creates a value-add within the areas of quality control and operations. For example, business unit leaders and C-suite executives can utilize special reporting features and key data sets to quickly identify problem areas and operational deficiencies. Consequently, when employees book within the parameters of a managed travel program, it provides an accurate measurement of overall travel program success.
Managed Travel is a Must
When considering traveler support and security as well as company liability, managed travel should be a top priority. A well-managed travel program is a core building block of your business that ultimately protects both employees on the road while maintaining cost savings and efficiencies that contribute to overall company success.
At Direct Travel, our experienced advisors leverage all areas of employee travel to provide you with peace of mind knowing that your business and team are in the best of hands. Ready to make a move? Learn more about our consultative approach to travel management by scheduling an introductory call with a member of our team.