An August 2015 survey of over 350 corporate travel managers or buyers by the Association of Corporate Travel Executives (ACTE) revealed that 72% of travel managers have not yet achieved their desired travel policy compliance level. With compliance being key to company savings as well as traveler safety, it’s important to consider strategies for improving adherence to and getting advice on corporate travel policies.
Why Corporate Travel Policies Matter
Corporate travel policies are important because they allow businesses to control the costs of sending employees on work trips, and they allow businesses to have some control over the employee’s travel experience and safety. A typical travel policy will cover items such as what vendors employees should use, how they should book travel, what costs are covered on a company card, and how reimbursement works. Some companies mandate these policies, whereas others are more flexible.
In partially managed programs, some employees use the company’s Travel Management Company (TMC) and some don’t. Some organizations instead have internal travel managers who create and enforce policies, while others offer little guidance and have no dedicated TMC, internal travel manager, or team. The possibilities are endless…and rather exhausting!
Why Following Policies Is Critical
While there are many different manifestations of travel policies and people who oversee them, businesses face challenges when employees ignore policies such as requirements to book flights a week in advance, attach a hotel to a flight booking, adhere to per diems, use the designated online booking tool, or book through designated channels. These policy deviations affect potential savings. For example, if a company uses a TMC, the company only benefits from negotiated rates if that traveler books in channel.
Booking flights at least a week in advance is a common practice intended to save companies money.
Often, the reasons why employees ignore policies are because they are trying to find lower-price options (which reflects lack of understanding about the travel program’s structure and negotiated savings); they are not fully knowledgeable about the company’s policies; or they are unaware that the company’s policies are mandatory, according to a Carlson Wagonlit survey. Whether you are the leader of a small business logging expenses on your laptop or a travel manager for a large corporation, there are strategies you can take to educate employees about your policies, which ultimately will improve compliance.
Approaches to Corporate Travel Policy Compliance
While perhaps most applicable to travel managers, these recommendations for improving adherence can be adopted by anyone who deals with travel expense reporting.
1. Factor in employee satisfaction
Often, company savings are valued over traveler satisfaction. One way businesses can improve policy compliance is by focusing more on improving the booking and travel experience for employees. In fact, 75% of the respondents from the ACTE survey said they believe improvements to traveler service can improve compliance because it can change travelers’ behavior. Luckily, most of them also agree that improving traveler satisfaction does not necessarily equate with higher expenses
How can businesses enhance traveler satisfaction, though? They can invite traveler feedback and use that feedback to shape future policy and vendor decisions. Forty-four percent of the travel managers from the ACTE study reported that they have no formal structure in place for traveler feedback; instead, they rely on ad hoc emails from employees. Travel managers (or others involved in T&E processes) can use a simple, free, online survey tool to collect data about employees’ experiences and preferences, or they can even conduct focus groups with travelers. The goal is to learn about their preferences and consider those preferences in relationship to future decisions about preferred channels or policy restrictions. While travel managers can’t let employee preferences hike up costs, if you happen to learn that a majority of employees would prefer a three-star versus four-star hotel if more funds could be allocated for dining, this approach would constitute more of a shift than an increase in costs.
2. Get creative
Some organizations are becoming more creative in their approaches to compliance. Following a GBTA conference in 2013, gamification (using social gaming strategies such as online badges and leaderboards to rank in-policy travelers) became a popular buzzword in the industry, and some thought it could enhance compliance. Gamification could be an inventive, fun, and cheap way to encourage travelers to use the corporate booking tool and book in-channel. While the CEO of the tech firm Rocketrip, Dan Ruch, told BuyingBusinessTravel.com that gamification has largely failed, he says the perceived failure is because the rewards (“digital high fives and gold stars”) aren’t enough to incentivize employees. Rocketrip, however, offers real financial incentive. It employs a unique algorithm that uses a company’s travel policy, employee parameters, and real-time price data to search for travel and encourage travelers to make choices (such as a less-desirable flight) to save the company money. Employees, in turn, get half the money that they saved the company.
A 2015 Business Travel News (BTN) Group survey of 504 travel management professionals reveals that some businesses have tried creative strategies such as making watch lists, putting new employees on the watch list for a few months to ensure compliance and then removing them from the audit altogether. In this way, employees get a bit of freedom once they have gained the company’s trust and are fully aware of the policies. Other companies have explored approaches such as offering additional time off for travel if the employee books economy class for the flight.
3. Educate employees on duty of care
It’s a commonplace in the managed travel world that travel policies should address duty of care—a company’s obligations to protect employees from harm while traveling. How duty of care is handled within different companies and even at different TMCs, however, differs. Some best practices include assessing risk prior to an employee’s trip and informing employees of potential risks and resources prior to the trip; developing a crisis management plan and confirming suppliers support the plan; and tracking travelers at all times.
Especially in light of recent terrorism events, it is important that travelers are aware of the resources that are in place for them. An added benefit of better communication about these policies is that they have the potential to enhance travel policy compliance. The BTN survey, for example, directly suggests that travel managers should consider using duty of care as a lever to enhance compliance. Hotels are a particular pain point in this realm. Many corporate travelers book hotels outside of the preferred channel; this may mean that the travel management company or travel manager then will be unaware of where the traveler is located. Many TMCs have technologies that allow immediate access to travelers’ whereabouts, but again this is only when travelers use the technology. Linking technology use to duty of care may help alleviate this concern.
4. Make sure policies are accessible, clear, and up-to-date
The 2015 ACTE report indicates, “corporate travel managers are convinced that communication drives up compliance.” One part of communication is making sure travel policies are accessible, which is most likely when employees receive regular education on policies. Acendas maintains that new employee education is crucial, as are refresher courses for regular travelers. Also, BTN suggests that when line managers or budget owners are in charge of travel policy compliance monitoring, they often don’t know the policy well enough to enforce it. They recommend educating travel managers on policy and process, including training them on any online tools used by the company and making sure they have the contact information for directing their questions. Policies should also be made accessible for everyone’s reference on the company’s intranet, through the travel portal, and the online booking tool. Travel managers can also send email reminders to employees prior to travel.
Access and training can’t be helpful, however, if policies are not clear. The BTN study suggests that key terms (such as ancillary fees or restricted airfares) are often missing from policies, which may confuse travelers. Travel policy makers should make sure key terms are defined for travelers, and they should clearly describe any penalties in place for non-compliance. Another key way to make policies clear is to focus on keeping them up-to-date. With emerging technologies automating some travel processes, a yearly look at your company’s travel policy may remind you to delete policies that are no longer relevant or needed. At the same time, your business will want to make sure policies are continually refined, addressing trends like the sharing economy. Keeping policies accurate, easy to follow, and easy to find can encourage employees to comply.
5. Take advantage of the right technologies
Technologies that can increase traveler policy compliance come in many forms, and they probably deserve the most attention, since they have the potential to significantly improve policy compliance. An April 2013 Aberdeen Group Report, “End-to-End Visibility Into T&E Expense Management: Mobile Comes to the Table,” shows that investing in an end-to-end solution (the entire process a traveler takes, from the actual travel to post-travel reporting and analysis) to travel management results in a 44% improvement in compliance. Exploring new technologies and ensuring they enable travelers to work within one system throughout the process can help companies maintain policy compliance.
Many TMCs have partnerships with online booking tools, which they use to track expenses and manage compliance—some even have their own proprietary software. Companies without a TMC may use an online booking tool (some require use of the tool; others do not), and some travelers are left to book on their own, follow policy, and hope for reimbursement. When it comes to choosing technologies, the best approach is to involve key stakeholders in the conversation, looking at where travel policy compliance has its biggest gaps and seeing what tools are available to help with these specific issues. For example, while flights are often heavily scrutinized, hotel bookings can be overlooked. Recently, Christopherson Business Travel added Hotel Attachment to its suite of digital travel tools. Each day, the program identifies itineraries without hotel reservations, alerts the traveler, and allows the traveler to simply click to make the reservation, request a reminder, attach a hotel reservation made outside the itinerary, or waive the need for a reservation. Just getting an automated visual reminder could potentially enhance compliance. In fact, ACTE’s “A Best Practices Guide to Corporate Policy Compliance” notes that the use of online booking tools is driving higher compliance just through “the visual guilt factor.”
Hotels can be a forgotten part of travel policy compliance.
Christopherson’s Hotel Attachment is only part of their robust AirPortal 360, which provides travel managers with a full dashboard to track travel spending, security, policy compliance, and more. Online booking tools like Deem and Concur not only offer robust analytics on the expense reporting side, but they make booking travel easy for road warriors. Travelers can book their own travel, but their choices are integrated with pre-set information regarding your company’s preferred providers, negotiated rates, and travel policies. Employees are kept informed about any out-of-policy selections, and the tools streamline pre-trip approvals. With Concur, employees can change itineraries through their smartphones, and they can snap a photo of a receipt, which turns it into an expense entry.
Danielle Fisher, a marketing manager who is a Concur user tells us that Concur is “a very user-friendly system. It allows you the freedom of choosing between airlines and flight times while ensuring you stay within your company’s travel expense perimeters.” Fisher notes that her company “has green, yellow, and red levels set up for ticket prices. If you book a red-level flight, you have to log a reason for booking the flight. It keeps people accountable.” As Fisher notes, an online booking tool like Concur seems to combine ease of use and a level of freedom for the traveler while ensuring compliance with policies.
Artificial intelligence has the potential to further assist businesses with travel policy compliance. The 30SecondstoFly team has created Claire, an artificially intelligent travel assistant. Business travelers can communicate with Claire via text, and she books travel policy-compliant trips within minutes. Claire is unique because of the usability she provides for travelers. On the business expenses side, she also reports robust travel analytics.
An Important Reminder for Policy Compliance
Perhaps the most important thing for anyone involved in promoting policy compliance is to tailor your approaches to the company culture and never being shy to get advice on corporate travel policies. Gamification might work well in a small start-up with a congenial, laid-back culture, whereas a full dashboard showing positive and negative data about individual traveler or department compliance might work well in a large corporation with a competitive environment. Regardless of company culture, a focus on compliance will remain important as a way to save businesses money and keep travelers safe. If you need advice on corporate travel policies - speak to a corporate travel specialist, such as TravelManor, before you start planning your next business trip!
Article source: https://www.30secondstofly.com/corporate-travel-management/improve-your-companys-travel-policy-compliance-with-these-5-strategies/
Small business travel tips, at one time, might have consisted of items like “Don’t forget to eat healthy food!” or “Consider business class a necessary expense.”
But today, with many small businesses relying on crowd-sharing resources like Airbnb and Uber for business travel, the small business travel tips look a little different.
Small business travel is changing as more Millennials enter the workforce with new ideas about work-life balance and what business travel should consist of.
A new term, “bleisure,” has been coined to describe the act of mixing business and leisure activities, something Millennials are keen to do.
A survey of 250 corporate travel managers and buyers with significant proportions of Millennial employees revealed that nearly half reported increases in employee concerns about work-life balance concerning travel, and another 42% said their employees wanted to combine business travel with leisure activities, in some cases extending the trip. How can these trends mesh with cost-effective business travel?
The small business travel tips you’ll find below are perfect for small companies without huge travel budgets. Check them out!
Cost Effective Small Business Travel Tips for Entrepreneurs
Go ahead, embrace ‘bleisure
’If “bleisure” sounds like a masquerade for a way to waste company money, don’t be fooled – it’s a powerful tool for employee retention.
Allowing your employees to spend a little time sight-seeing or day or two at the nearby beach is a “way to nurture and retain talented staff,” according to Andi Budd, executive at American Express Global Business Travel. “What they’re saying is ‘if we can make our employee happier during their travels, they are more productive’, and then also tying it back to staff retention.”
Let them bring the family
In companies where Millennials make up a considerable percentage of the workforce, 46% of travel managers say there’s been an increase in employees who want to bring family along on business trips. Compare that number to companies without many Millennials on board – only 28% inquire about bringing family on business trips.
If more employees want to bring family along on business trips, let them. Before you protest the additional cost of room and board for 2-3 others, consider the shared accommodations (think Airbnb) trend. Airbnb is allowing small business owners to find cost-effective accommodations for employees in popular cities, and because entire homes can be rented for less than the cost of a single hotel room, it’s easier than ever to allow employees to bring family along on a trip. After all, if bringing family will make them happier, they’ll be more productive and stick around longer. That’s a win-win.
Small companies are leading the charge when it comes to using Airbnb for business travel. Lower prices when compared to hotels, and accommodations with better locations in pricey cities, have no doubt contributed to the trend.
— Andrew Sheivachman
Pick an airline and stick with it
If you choose a different airline each time your employees fly, you’re making a mistake that is costing you money. Frequent flier rewards programs are undeniably beneficial for business travelers, and if you’re footing the bill, you’ll want to make sure you’re earning those reward points or frequent flier miles.
“The key thing for business travel is frequent flier programs,” Banas says. “You want to be brand loyal so you can get that elite status and have access to more perks and upgrades.”
If you can’t stand the thought of always flying Delta (or SouthWest, or American Airlines, or Jet Blue…), Banas says it’s helpful to get a credit card that offers rewards so you can build up points, miles, and cash back no matter which airline you fly with.
Take the time to engage with a speciality corporate travel agency, like TravelManor. They have years of experience and buying power to secure better deals for your business travel, which translates to cost effective business travel. Entrust TravelManor with you business travel needs - contact them today!
Article source: https://corporatetraveltalk.wordpress.com/2018/02/19/cost-effective-small-business-travel-tips/
Common Tactics Employers Use to Cut Employee Travel Expenses
With some sympathy to employers who are trying to control travel costs, asking employees to share rooms is not where to start - or finish.
These ideas are less stressful and offensive to the average employee who travels for business for their employer. Employees are normal humans who just want some privacy and distance from co-workers while on a business trip, especially if they have spent the day with coworkers. Employers don't need to ask employees to share rooms. There are other ways to save on the cost of employee business travel.
They benefit the employer because employees feel respected and cared about which produces positive morale. They keep the positive relationship cycle moving in the right direction.
For additional information about cost-effective business travel and how to manage the cost of corporate travel, get in touch with a reputable corporate travel agent, such as TravelManor, here.
Original article source: https://www.thebalance.com/reduce-employee-travel-cost-1918740
A new report released by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) and Travelport revealed that the business travel sector is expected to increase by 3.7 percent per year over the next decade.
The report was released during the WTTC Global Summit in Bangkok, and it showed that the fastest growth in the business travel sector is expected in emerging markets like Asia-Pacific, which is expected to increase at a rate of 6.2 percent each year through 2027.
In terms of fastest-growing markets, China leads the way with 9.5 percent growth, followed by Myanmar at 8.7 percent, Rwanda and Gabon at 8.5 percent, Hong Kong at eight percent, Tanzania at 7.9 percent, Cambodia at 7.4 percent and India at 7.2 percent.
“Every day we see business travel growing at a significant rate in many emerging markets with technology playing an in increasingly important role in easing the way for those on trips for their work,” Travelport CEO Gordon Wilson said in a statement. “As an industry, we need to continue to invest in the best technologies and infrastructure whilst governments need to be more business-friendly by removing burdensome visa requirements.”
READ MORE: REPORT: Travel Industry Boomed Big Time in 2016
The United States, China, the United Kingdom, Germany and Japan remain the largest Business Travel markets, according to the WTTC report.
“Travel & Tourism generates USD$7.6 trillion in GDP and supports over 292 million jobs,” WTTC CEO David Scowsill said in a statement. “Business travel is a vital part of the sector, and it is a key catalyst for global growth. It drives the relationships, investments, supply chains and logistics that support international trade flows.”
In addition, the report also revealed that eight of the top 20 fastest growing business travel destinations have introduced visa improvements to help economic growth. Part of the reason behind the continued growth around the world is the emergence of technology which supports tourists and travel companies and corporate travel agencies.
The WTTC report focuses on travelers wanting mobile phone alerts and information about disruptions, flight updates and upgrades, and how the industry needs to focus on serving digitally-connected millennials in order to engage customers more effectively.
Article source: http://businesstravel.postach.io/post/report-shows-business-travel-is-booming
Futuristic business travel technology is here
Traveling for work seems glamorous at first, but as most frequent business travelers will tell you, it quickly becomes drudgery. After a while, every airport terminal looks the same, and the in-flight entertainment gets as stale as the sandwich you unceremoniously stuffed in your carry-on. It's no wonder that tired travelers spend their free time daydreaming about a futuristic world where nearly instantaneous transportation is the norm. Let's indulge our imaginations together as we look at some of the most interesting, bizarre and downright awesome concepts in futuristic travel today.
You can't talk about futuristic travel without talking about flying cars. One of the earliest renderings of a flying car (technically an aerial steam carriage) is from 1841. It seems that, as soon as man could move with ease on the ground, he wanted to abandon it for the sky. The dream of a future with flying cars is still alive thanks to such innovative companies as Urban Aeronautics, AeroMobil, PAL-V, Moller International and Terrafugia. Just think – instead of sitting through rush-hour traffic on your way to work, you could be soaring through the sky as you listen to podcasts and burn your tongue on overpriced coffee that you bought from a surly robotic barista with lug nuts for gauges.
These only available for preorder, but we're not far from a future when we'll all be wearing earbuds like these that translate languages in real time. That's right, several companies are working on earpieces that will transform the way people think about international business forever. Imagine a world with no language barriers at all – that's the goal for such companies as Waverly Labs, Mymanu and ili, which are all currently pioneering wearable auditory translation technology.
Charging gadgets through the air
Someday, possibly sooner than you think, tangled power cords and international adapters will be a distant memory, like video rentals and pay phones. At CES 2017, a company called Ossia showcased its latest invention, called the Cota Tile. The Cota Tile is a ceiling tile with a built-in transmitter that can remotely charge smartphones, wearables, laptops and other devices by sending the charge through the air. Once a tiny receiver is installed in each device, the Cota Tile can automatically sense and power your electronics as needed, and the more tiles in a space, the more power is available. There are already wireless power sources available for specific devices on the market, but something that can be physically built into airports, hotels and other public spaces feels like the true end goal.
Wouldn't it be great to slash the time it takes to travel between vast regions without ever setting foot in an airport? That's one of the major benefits of trains that use magnetic levitation, which reduces friction and allows smooth high-speed travel. Technically this is already a thing, and it's called a maglev train, but since they're only operational in a few locations worldwide, they're still futuristic for most business travelers. The fastest maglev train in the world is currently in Japan, and it can travel an astounding 375 mph. It may only be a matter of time before these super-fast trains become the worldwide standard, and business travel will never be the same.
What's crazier than a flying car? How about locking yourself in a pressurized capsule that gets shot through a steel tube at about 600 mph? Welcome to the hyperloop, an awesome idea that's probably decades (if not longer) away from being a reality. Innovators such as SpaceX, Hyperloop Technologies, TransPod and DGWHyperloop are working around the clock to make hyperloop travel a reality. Hyperloop travel wouldn't just impact businesspeople who travel internationally, although it would be a tremendous advantage for them; it would also change the way people think about daily commutes. High-speed travel options would make it feasible to live on the beach in Miami and work in downtown Atlanta, and the commute would take about the same amount of time it takes to travel on the New York City subway from Queens to Manhattan.
If you hate carrying your own luggage, get ready to be happy. Travelmate Robotics is currently raising Indiegogo money for its adorable/creepy robotic suitcase that can be programmed to follow you around like a dutiful four-wheeled dog. You can use your smartphone to control the Travelmate, and the suitcase has other unique features, including a handle that turns into a portable desk (great for working during long layovers) and a battery that can charge electronics via USB. The Travelmate isn't the only robotic suitcase approaching the market; Cowarobot is gearing up to sell its dystopian suitcase henchmen to the public (they cry if you get too far away, and each comes with a handcuff to measure that distance), as is Olive Robotics and a few others.
Suspended monorails have been around for a long time, but until recently, they've been confined to amusement parks and airports with terrible layouts. Now SkyTran, headquartered at the NASA Ames Research Center, is trying to change all of that, and it looks like it's succeeding. The company has already tested and debuted its futuristic self-driving pods, which hang from a monorail and reach a maximum speed of 155 mph. While this might seem like something that's a long time from happening, SkyTran insists that it will debut its first fully functional system in Lagos, Nigeria, by 2020.
Well, while we are waiting for all these fantastical travel platforms to be a reality, we travel by plane, train and car. To make things as smooth as possible, use good business travel agencies to ensure all goes...well...excuse the pun...plane-sailing!
Article source: http://www.businessnewsdaily.com/9910-future-business-travel-technology.html