The pandemic has forced even the most nimble of businesses to rethink long-established policies and shift priorities at a moment’s notice. In fact, an outstanding 96 percent of employees surveyed by SAP Concur indicated that their organizations were not adequately prepared to address the problems triggered by COVID-19. This poses a formidable challenge to driving business growth, a topic we explored in depth in our most recent blog post.
With 2021 now in full swing, successful business leaders cannot afford to let their guard down. Through implementing stronger policies and forming a strategic partnership with the right travel management company (TMC), both looming threats and unexpected elements can be mitigated in your ongoing recovery plan.
Identify the Risks
Before you address the unknown, start by first identifying the known risks and any related complications that may arise. For instance, while the challenges ahead may look less daunting than at the beginning of the pandemic, many of the biggest barriers to business that originated in 2020 have not been fully resolved. Vaccine distribution logistics, new strains of the coronavirus, and ongoing travel restrictions continue to evolve, creating new versions of past problems.
If you haven’t already, formulate a clear risk management policy that protects employees and minimizes company liabilities. Your policy should include an established protocol for communicating with employees in the event of a crisis, provisions for fulfilling duty of care obligations, and strategies for addressing the range of risks that come with increased business travel.
Consider how much you’re willing to invest in your program in order to fortify your travelers against such risks, whether it be working with a trusted travel management partner to monitor ongoing threats or creating a company-wide COVID-19 testing program.
Retool Your Program
Not all risks can be identified through advance planning. However, by ensuring that the framework for your corporate travel program is strong, you can safeguard your business against many future disruptions.
One primary area to look at strengthening is your travel policy. Without a clear policy that balances traveler flexibility with company spend accountability, you risk losing crucial dollars when inevitable trip cancellations occur. Once you’ve set the appropriate booking channel parameters, use an automated trip approval process to streamline complexities and account for any changes that may occur as travel restrictions are lifted or imposed.
Trip approval is just one example of how investing in the right technology is a critical component of your travel program. Particularly as organizations are forced to do more with less, the power of automation can simplify workflows and take tasks off your team’s to-do list. Your TMC partner can help equip you with right tools for success depending on your business size and needs. This may include a traveler tracking and communication platform to protect your people (we’ll dive into this more during our next article in this series), mobile booking app with traveler intelligence built in, or rate assurance technology to capture cost savings,
Use a Trusted TMC Partner
For the best results when identifying risks and retooling your travel program, select a trusted TMC partner to help you evaluate and plan accordingly. Doing so will save both time and money in addition to ensuring another layer of accountability and expertise.
For instance, although you may be able to independently adjust your travel policy as new threats or risks occur, a TMC partnership will help you stay ahead of the curve and elevate your policy from written procedures to actual compliance and cost savings. Our own research shows that companies that manage their travel budget through a TMC have an average improved compliance rate of 15 percent.
The right TMC partner should deliver continuity, strategy, and ROI for your business. From consultation and account management to robust services and technology solutions, Direct Travel continues to leverage the skills of our experienced team and our position in the industry to mitigate uncertainty for growing and emerging businesses.
UP NEXT: Stay tuned for our next article in this series, where we will explore how your travel program can help you protect people and account for shifts in company culture.