What to ask when developing a business travel management plan
It’s easy to see why so many companies are taking a second look at their business travel management plan. By 2022, the Global Business Travel Association expects global annual spend on work travel will reach $1.7 trillion. If we took that amount of spend alone, it would rank as the 14th largest GDP of any country in the world.
There’s some serious cash flowing around, which also means there’s an equally extraordinary number of employees on the move too.
A well-run business travel management strategy is like an F1 pit stop crew – everyone needs to be laser-focused on doing their part to make sure everything runs smoothly. But just like the speed of pit stop crews has changed between the days of Niki Lauda and Lewis Hamilton, so too has everyone’s role when it comes to booking business travel from the past to now. With the introduction of corporate hotel booking, travellers expect to do less, bookers expect to do more and CFOs expect to get a whole lot more oversight than before.
Travel bookers, CFOs and employees all play an important role in a well-functioning travel management strategy. Are you playing up to yours?
What is business travel management?
Business travel management refers to the strategy of accommodating frequent workforce travel in a manner that’s cost-efficient for the company and enjoyable for travellers. Within that strategy, travel bookers, CFOs and the travellers themselves all have a key role to play.
At a very top level, travel bookers are responsible for ensuring that the business is getting a fair deal for the rooms they’re purchasing, meeting the needs of travellers within those purchases and potentially scaling business travel management for a large number of employees.
CFOs are tasked with ensuring that the company doesn’t spend more than makes fiscal sense regarding the return on investment that comes from workforce travel. Within these responsibilities includes overseeing all the policies and processes surrounding business travel management, like setting and maintaining travel and expense policies or handling invoices.
Last but not least, travellers have the important role of making sure that workforce travel doesn’t affect their day-to-day work. Any hitches in the process should be dealt with swiftly in a well-functioning business travel management strategy.
The travel booker’s role in travel management strategy
Managing the workforce’s business travel management strategy could always be easier. Travel bookers play perhaps the most important role in overseeing the process and should ask themselves the following questions when creating a business travel management plan to assess how they’re doing:
- Are you able to manage multiple bookings at once?
- Are you getting the best and most affordable hotel rates for the business?
- Is the invoicing process short, quick and not necessary for employees?
- Are you getting the best quality hotels?
- Are the hotels always in the right location for business travellers?
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If you answered no to any of the above questions, it could mean that your business travel management strategy hasn’t evolved to keep up with the times. Business hotel booking platforms like Roomex act as your partner in business travel – ensuring the smoothest process to compare and manage all business travel bookings.
The CFO’s role in a travel management strategy
Travelling workforces are beginning to understand that they can’t overspend when they’re using the company card. 28 percent of business travellers were willing to swap travel dates to help the organisation get better rates, according to a study by Dosh. But that still leaves another 72 percent that wasn’t as willing, and that’s the stuff of nightmares for even the best CFOs.
With so much money being pumped into work travel, CFOs act as the floodgate between a business travel management strategy that is either beneficial to the company or a financial drain on it.
Business travel accounts for about 10 percent of the average company’s operating expenses -yet, most CFO’s place no controls around spend. Off the cuff strategies that result in employees doing most of the booking or purchasing can lead to poorly maintained budgets and a lot of frustration for anyone that has to deal with invoicing. CFOs should ask themselves:
- Are you getting the best rates on hotel rooms that the business can possibly get?
- Is the travel and expense policy being enforced?
- Is the expense and invoice process efficient?
- Is VAT reclaim quick and painless?
- Can you monitor work travel spend in real-time?
Answering no to any of the questions above can lead a company to overspend on workforce travel. A cost-efficient business travel management strategy will leverage a business hotel booking platform like Roomex to gain better oversight over the process, find more affordable accommodation and transform the expense process into one monthly invoice.
The business traveller’s role in a travel management strategy
The workforce might have the easiest job of all in a business travel management strategy: pack your bags, buckle up and enjoy the flight or lift. Jokes aside, a well-functioning or poorly run program can have an impact on the general happiness of people at the company. Just because employees aren’t running the show doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have any input.
Organisations should look to make each trip as smooth as possible for whoever’s taking it. Furthermore, cutting back on the responsibilities of the workforce – e.g. booking rooms or managing expenses – clears headaches on both sides as the cash flow is more tightly managed. Business travellers should ask themselves:
- Are you able to book hotels without paying for them yourself and getting reimbursed later?
- Are the hotel rooms in the right location near the job site or client headquarters?
- Are you booking within the company’s travel and expense policy?
Answering no to any of the questions above could mean that the business isn’t putting its travelling workforce in the best position to help themselves or the company. Long reimbursement times and self-service style booking can create headaches for all parties involved; moving to a business hotel booking platform like Roomex takes those responsibilities out of their hands.