Corporate travel has experienced a ton of changes in recent years, most importantly with the advent of easy access to airfare via the internet. While many travelers find it costly to control their schedules by using the internet, many organizations have waived their travel policies to allow travelers to book themselves online. . Travelers know that it is costly for businesses in many areas to lose productivity, lack of control over unused tickets, and lack of access to airline programs that can save the company on many travel places.
Can we agree that online travel, while useful in some way, isn't everything we hoped it would be from the beginning? I hear stories from travelers everyday about how difficult it is to book online, and how even when using the internet, travelers can never be sure they get the best fare. This uncertainty irritates travelers and coordinators, and for good reason. It's hard to know exactly what you can get online with no track record of success, and no level of trust between the organization and the travel provider.
Collaboration between your organization and your chosen travel management manager is critical. This collaboration will reap benefits for your company in terms of a better working relationship and an anticipation of your current and future needs related to the ever-changing status quo. corporate travel.
Centralized travel should make a comeback for the benefit of the corporate travel program, and the purity of travelers and travel coordinators. Given that all distribution channels have access to the same fare and rates, there are few reasons today to maintain a decentralized travel policy. The level of executive buy is critical, and can easily allow travelers to maintain the level of control they desire while still needing to travel through the desired corporate channel. Most brick and mortar agencies now offer online booking solutions that can be customized to meet the needs of a unique corporate travel policy.
The benefits of centralized travel planning are also numerous. Here is a comprehensive, but certainly not a complete, list of reasons to regain this important but unexplored budget. This will definitely have a positive impact on your company and the ability to serve your customers and improve the moral journey.
- Access airline and hotel discount programs through agency and provider contracts
- Centralized bookings allow travelers to be more organized and efficient
- Unused tickets can be tracked and hotel cancellation policies can be managed
- Central hotel charges and car rentals
- More efficient bookkeeping processes
- Effective customer service for inevitable changes and business travel related issues.
- Appropriate and centralized financial and accounting reports
Many corporations find that the best solution is a combination of booking options, with most using an online booking portal provided by their agency partner, with the help of real live agent if travelers are forced on time or have more complicated travel arrangements. The key to my opinion is to re-evaluate the travel program from every angle. There are more aircraft programs available to businesses than ever before. New opportunities for saving money and streamlined processes are not there for you. United Airlines recently began offering a discounted per-fare discount for corporate partners. That includes the cheapest coach class seats, which even many Fortune 500 companies don't have access to. This is just one example of the unannounced opportunities for your company that could be through past agency relationships.
It's time we took another pass on the corporate travel program to see where the possibilities are and find the opportunities for savings. Your travelers and coordinators can still get back what they paid for. Take care of your customers and keep your business ahead.