July 26th, 2021
Smart Travel Makes Better Use of Funds
We don’t need to remind you that controlling spend is as important as ever especially in the not-for-profit sector. As doing more with less becomes ever more urgent, travel is one area of a charity's cost base that cannot be overlooked. For charities working overseas, travel is an integral part of their work. Many would struggle to provide their core services if they were not able to send volunteers, staff and supporters to manage essential operations abroad. Charities face a dilemma as their travel costs rise and their incomes fall. We've worked with charities working overseas which spend up to 20% of their income on travel. Keeping travel costs under control can therefore be the difference between survival and extinction. Charities large or small operating internationally need to be able to move fast and respond to natural disasters, conflicts and humanitarian crises as well as negotiate hazards such as delays, ash clouds and industrial strikes. To manage scenarios such as this, it is vital that charities make travel arrangements that are flexible and adaptable.
1 Initiate a travel policy. A logical first step for any charity working abroad. Set out clearly which airlines and classes employees can book so that all travel spending can be monitored and evaluated. It also helps to be flexible. A travel policy is also a good place to start when managing the safety and wellbeing of travelling staff, an essential duty for employers. We help to put a travel policy in place that is robust and fit for purpose.
2 Make your staff aware of your travel policy. Make the policy easily accessible and send out periodic reminders and share stories of best practice. If staff don't know about it, they can't abide by it.
3 Don't DIY. It is needlessly expensive to have employees, especially in large organisations, sorting out their own travel. Although individuals may think they are getting the best deal, online fares often have restrictive conditions and no agent support should things go wrong – and they often do. When travel purchasing is centralised, it is far easier to keep an eye on costs and trends and identify where savings can be made.
4 Book early. We've found that a client ends up spending an extra £4 per ticket for each day that they wait before booking a flight. If you consistently book at the earliest possible moment you will, on average, save 30% compared to someone who always books last minute.
5 Know what you're getting. We all hear about airlines charging separate fees for things such as checked baggage, food, drink and even things like pillows – a process known as unbundling. Be conscious of this when looking for flights online as what seems on the surface like a great fare may increase considerably as non-inclusive items are added.
Want to know more? Please contact us email@example.com or call 0131 467 7000 and we can arrange a free consultation to get a better understanding of your requirements.
Benchmarking and Selecting a TMC
The role of procurement departments has certainly changed over the years, with value, levels of service and duty of care all becoming significant considerations when taking on a new supplier. However, there is one aspect of the procurement process that has stood the test of time and underpins everything that procurement department’s work towards and that’s cost.
I’m often asked to benchmark against existing practices but what is the best way to do this?
Understanding transaction fees and how they relate to your overall spend is a crucial element in selecting a TMC.
Equipping yourself with as much industry knowledge as possible is the best way to get the procurement process off to a good start. If you’re keen to drive online bookings then, by doing research, you should be able to find a realistic online adoption rate expectation. The volume of online bookings your organisation makes will have a direct impact on the fees you pay, as online bookings are usually charged at a lower rate than offline bookings.
Don’t focus exclusively on offline fees.
In recent years there has been a real drive within the business travel industry to increase the amount of bookings made online. With transaction fees for online bookings being typically lower, this has been a great result for travel buyers. However, the same kind of fees should not apply to offline bookings. When it comes to offline assistance, it really is a case of you get what you pay for. It is imperative you work with your TMC to work out how realistic your online adoption rate really is, if you have a lot of multi-sector long haul travel I’d suggest you will be doing more offline than online but if it is simple point to point low cost travel a higher online adoption is probably realistic.
TMCs do not all have access to the same fares and so will not deliver the same online/offline booking ratios. If you really want to know what it would cost to work with each TMC you need to tailor your analysis based on your research and their figures.
Once you’ve done your calculations, based on a tailored online adoption per TMC, you can then work out what percentage of your total travel spend the transaction fees would equate to. The industry average sits at around 5%, so if you’re preferred TMC comes in less than this, with excellent customer service and a great all-encompassing solution as well, then from a cost perspective they are very much worth considering.
Get in in touch and we can show you how much we can help you and make life easier for you.
Give us a call on 0131 467 7000 or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org
The Travel Company Edinburgh
Many people believe that because they are regular travellers this makes them best equipped to make their own travel arrangements and whilst they may have best intentions, by acting in this way it may in actual fact not only be false economy but it could be leaving the company wide open in terms of risk management. Organisations have legal and moral obligations to provide safety and security to their people, as much as possible, as they travel on business; that comes in the form of duty of care and a travel management company (TMC) should offer you access to tools and services that support you in looking after your travellers and help you in holding up your end of the duty of care bargain.
So next time you are booking your business trip and you think you can save a couple of pounds by booking your hotel room through some 3rd party website or going on a price comparison site for your flight just think about the following:
If you don't book through your TMC, they won't know where you are, which means they can't help you in a crisis.
Let's say you book a hotel on your own, and when you arrive, you are not happy with the condition of your room or worse still, the hotel doesn't have a record of your reservation. Who do you call for help? No one. That's who.
You are probably NOT even saving your company money by finding the deal of the century even if you think you are. Want to know why? Your company negotiates deals with specific suppliers on an annual basis. These deals frequently include behind-the-scenes incentives based on quantity of bookings. The TMC may well be offering your company a rebate on commissions earned and you also have to factor in time, your time to make the booking and your finance department who then have to spend time cross referencing your expense claim.
So you may be an experienced traveller and you may feel that a TMC restricts what you can or can’t book. This is very rarely the case, we work with all of our clients to give the end user a pleasurable experience, give them choices and a high level of personal service all whilst controlling the companies spend, making sure the staff are as safe as possible and streamlining the back office processing.
Get in touch so we can help you. email@example.com +44 (0)131 467 7000
How to write a company travel policy?
It is surprisingly common to come across organisations that despite having significant expense in terms of travel, they do not have a travel policy to adhere to and whilst it is possible for a company to get by without ever formally documenting rules on employee travel and expenses it is inadvisable.
Each company has to find a program that matches its size, travel pattern, and culture. Yet for all these unique considerations, the importance of getting it right is universal, as are the basic principles that go into designing the right policy.
So why do you need a travel policy?
Cost Control - Smart policies don’t just protect against overspending, they actively encourage saving.
Employee Satisfaction - Business travellers want the right amount of guidance from their company policy. Not having defined rules can leave employees confused, but having too many rules can be counterproductive. By creating more work for an employee during booking, and giving them too few comfortable and convenient options on the road, overly-strict policies encourage travellers to go rogue.
Reporting - T&E is one of the largest expense categories at a typical organization, often ranking behind only salary and rent. Because a company’s travel policy determines how employees book and submit expenses, it has a huge effect on whether spending remains visible.
By identifying specific priorities, you’ll know where to focus your attention. Here are some possible objectives:
Reduce average trip cost
Replace some travel with virtual meetings
Promote use of approved suppliers
Secure negotiated hotel rates
Increase advance booking
Improve employee satisfaction with flight and hotel options
Speed up expense reimbursement process
Once you have established the objectives, we work with clients and potential clients in order to write a travel policy that is comprehensive, covering every stage of trip from booking through to reimbursement, and at the same time comprehensible.
Below are a list of examples that could be included in a travel policy:
Where should employees book their travel?
How should they pay?
How are trips approved or rejected?
What class of flight?
Flight selection criteria
Hotel star class
Allowable expenses whilst in a hotel
Rail v plane
Economy v Business Class
Are you struggling with your travel policy? Why not get in touch today and see how we can help.
Get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org +44 (0)131 467 7000