With 2018 coming to a close, travel managers are looking back at the year and setting their strategic plans for the upcoming year. As travel costs continue to rise year-over-year, the pressure to find innovative ways to save the company money continues to increase.
A few weeks ago the Navigator Blog highlighted savings opportunities in traditional travel categories. As you start to make your plans for 2019, it’s important to look beyond the three traditional categories (air, car and hotel) and start incorporating non-traditional savings opportunities.
In this Navigator Blog post, we look beyond the booking and dive deeper to uncover unique ways to find savings in any travel program.
Corporate cards are a strategic approach that brings costs under control through improved expense management. Not only do they reduce the cost of expense report handling, offer incentives on purchases and reduce falsified receipts, they are also a lucrative way to identify non-traditional savings. By negotiating corporate card contracts every few years, you’ll discover significant savings through signing bonuses and back-end rebates.
Virtual pay should also be considered. As you can imagine, there are non-employee travelers and guests (e.g. recruiting) that are being reimbursed through different channels. Being able to link your virtual pay process to your corporate card will provide you better visibility and better reporting.
If your online booking tool (OBT) utilization is not at 80 percent, consider setting strategies that promote adoption. Work with your travel management company to develop a plan that drives travelers to book online. When travelers use the dedicated booking channel, you’ll see significant cost savings, not only in transaction fees but also by reducing the amount of out-of-program bookings because of visual guilt.
Meal expense is also a significant non-traditional category to look at for additional savings. In a recent industry study, 44 percent of survey respondents indicated that meal expenditures had increased to 11 percent or more of their T&E spend. This means that meal expenses continue to be one of the untapped areas for travel savings. Working with your travel management company, you can update your travel policy to include specific policies to curb excess meal and entertainment spending without compromising the traveler experience.
Mileage is also a unique area to find savings. Review your current car rental usage and compare it to the mileage reimbursement to see which one makes more sense in certain scenarios. For example, if one of your frequent destinations includes a long drive, it might be more cost effective to encourage travelers to rent a car than reimburse them for miles. Also, consider insurance and duty of care implications.
Meetings & Events
And finally, meetings and events present a substantial opportunity to drive savings. First, use self-service online sourcing for simple meetings. Implementing technology to help you source, contract and manage less complex meetings makes it easier and more cost efficient.
On the flip side, if your organization hosts large meetings, we recommend putting a strategy in place with the help of your strategic meetings management partner. By working with an agency, your organization will be able to implement strategic sourcing of your group meetings. Also, consider data consolidation from sourcing through payment reconciliation to uncover additional savings.
Prepare for 2019
Non-traditional savings opportunities are a critical piece of the future of travel management. As travel costs continue to rise, it will be imperative to work with your travel management company to unearth hidden savings opportunities across your entire travel program.
If you are looking for a refresher on traditional savings opportunities, read more in our original Navigator Blog post:
Savings Opportunities in Traditional Travel Categories