Your Business Travel Matters
Here’s our ultimate toolkit series for improving your business travel
The drawbacks of DIY travel, how to craft the perfect policy, creating savings and so much more.
It’s time to talk business travel. It’s the way your company gets it done. Travel offers growth, team bonding, creativity, solid relationships, and plenty more.
It’s the start-ups and small to mid-sized companies (SMEs) that are powering travel’s recovery from the pandemic; jumping on planes and trains more often than the corporate giants. What does that tell us? That travel is integral to getting the job done and building successful businesses.
Over time, many SME businesses find that business travel is getting a bit…out of control. You’ve seen it yourself. The team expands quickly and soon they’re travelling frequently to all corners of the world. It becomes hard to keep track of; not just where people are on a given week, but also how much it’s costing. Some of the processes can be clunky and when your people are managing their own business travel they end up spending hours trying to book trips themselves (aka DIY business travel!)
Then throw safety, health, wellbeing, and the environment into the mix. Oh, and border closures, testing requirements and ever-changing travel rules. Silently but earnestly, travel has gotten more complex.
Your next move? Just keep reading. We built this series to provide you a comprehensive view of how to build a great business travel program. The most important thing is that you don’t have to do this on your own.
Want more info right away? Let’s chat!
What even is a business travel program?
A managed business travel program is more than just someone who books your travel. It’s about turning something complex into something easy to navigate.
Here is a quick checklist to pressure-test your current situation. Does your current solution:
- Keep your people safe and support them in any situation, 24/7?
- Make booking travel easy and quick?
- Help you spend wisely and save you money?
- Allow you to pull any travel data and reporting with the click of a button?
- Advise on what to do about caring for your people and the planet?
Your travel solution should check all of these boxes.
How Angus Knight made the move
Angus Knight needed firmer processes and resources in place to help with a growing number of bookings.
A new booking tool and travel policy gave them the structure and support they needed.
Chapter 1: Your travel needs some TLC
Here’s the 35,000 ft view
- Enlisting a travel specialist, aka a travel management company (TMC), takes the strain off your team.
- DIY business travel booking is bad for business. We’ll show you why.
- Real-life stories to show what it means to have help and support.
- Become a pro in picking the right TMC.
All travel is personal, even when it’s done for work.
Your travellers have their own preferences for their business trips – from how they book, to the meals they have on the plane and the accommodation they pick. Travel is also unique for each and every business. Some companies care about containing costs, others are all about freedom of choice for their travellers, while some just want to make sure they have someone to call when things get hairy (think pandemic-sized travel disruptions!)
But every company cares about the safety of their colleagues, especially these days. There’s no room for error when it comes to traveller wellness and safety - whether they’re in the office or out on the road.
Feeling the pressure to create all that customisation in a process that works for everyone? It doesn’t need to be difficult. Enlist a travel partner that can do all the above (and more) for you. In the travel industry these companies are commonly known as a travel management company or TMC for short.
Want more info right away?
Real-life stories of when having a business travel team can save the day
Check out these real-life sticky situations, and how travel management support has helped:
- How to avoid a 3-hour hold with the airline.
- EAs stressed with all the travel admin.
- Borders closing and getting travellers home.
Eight reasons why DIY business travel is bad for your business
Booking travel ad hoc on the web? It's wasting time, money and productivity. You'll see...
- How it's putting travellers at risk.
- Why travel shouldn't stress anyone out.
- How productivity drops without the right tools.
Unmanaged or managed travel?
Checklist: What to look out for in a TMC
Gotta love a checklist. Use this simple sheet to prioritise what you want from a TMC and check off those requirements while you’re comparing the options.
Key criteria includes
- What your business travel team and support looks like
- How your colleagues book travel
- Where the TMC has a presence
Guide: Myths and magic of managed travel
Is your business too small for managed travel? Isn’t it just quicker to book your travel online?
We’ll answer these questions and more in this guide!
Don’t waste another second or another dollar.
Your business has goals and objectives beyond your travel program. In fact, it’s probably one of the least important pieces of the puzzle that is business strategy. But it’s still a big piece...and you need to make sure that you’re not overpaying.
Booking business travel isn’t just about getting the cheapest rates, especially if your flight gets cancelled or needs to be rearranged. It ends up costing you more in the long run, in both time AND money. Now you need to consider costs from a higher vantage point; looking across the entire travel program.
Is Mary in Sales spending too much time on InsertAirlineHere.com when she should be closing deals or running sales training? That’s the train of thought to jump on. And that’s why it pays to outsource your business travel needs to a business that knows exactly what you crave.
5 quick wins to save money
It’s no secret that booking business travel in advance usually means better rates, but there are other ways to find savings. When you’re ready to think seriously about saving money on business travel, here are five quick wins to get you started.
Money (and stress)-saving reasons to offload your business travel admin
Despite what its label suggests, a managed business travel program can still give your colleagues a lot of choice and freedom. Here’s some of the more obscure ways to save on business travel; it’s not just the financial advantage…
Get your head in the numbers with our Savings Calculator
Time to get your head in the numbers. Use this Savings Calculator to punch in the important travel stats and see where your business travel spend could take you. Seriously, it’s worth the few minutes to plug those numbers and see those savings!
Guide: Don’t pinch pennies. Make smart savings.
Business travel putting a dent in your company budget? As line items go – business travel can pack a punch but there’s insider ways to get impressive savings. Download the guide for advice on:
- Slashing the biggest costs first.
- How to spend wisely.
- Next level savings.
Plus we share how one of our awesome customers has saved money on their own business travel.
New questions to ask and answer
Maybe before the days of "you’re on mute" you could try and go it alone, but things have changed in the world of business travel since the dark days of 2020. Now, instead of your travellers focusing on the best airlines for their frequent flyer points/miles, it’s flexibility, facts and communication that are vital. Plus, your travellers want to also know how your company supports the safety of women travellers and what your plans are for sustainable business travel options. There are new questions to ask and answer.
What does this mean? Your corporate travel policy needs to reflect this new world of agility, health and safety while also balancing the personal preferences of your people. A well-planned business travel policy mitigates the risk of leaving your company exposed to complications...and helps you save money too. It also makes life much easier and painless in the future.
“Sweat more in peace, bleed less in battle”
When you spend the time and effort to get your policy right, you’re setting yourself up for massive gains in the long run.
Annnnnd, surprise! We’re here to help!
Policy perfection: The key ingredients
In today’s global business environment, organisations are juggling office-based employees, staff who are working from home, consultants and teams that are spread across continents. Then add to the mix: tight budgets, COVID-19 complexities and new goals around sustainability, and suddenly a clear and updated business travel policy is more important than ever.
In simple terms...if you don’t have a formal business travel policy in place, you need one. This guide delves into the ingredients for the policy mix.
Benchmark your business travel policy
Already have a business travel policy and want to know how effective it is?
Take this easy 2-minute travel policy benchmarking quiz and get the answers on what’s working, what’s not and how to take your policy from basic to brilliant.
It’s also a great way to benchmark against others in the industry. Ready to see how your policy is travelling?
Template: Kick-start your business travel policy
Creating a rock-solid business travel policy is about:
- Asking the right questions.
- Answering those questions according to your business’s goals and traveller needs.
- Specifying your preferences on a policy document.
- Telling your people about the policy and making it stick.
Got it? Goodo.
A starter policy could include instructions on booking information, domestic and international flights, accommodation and car hire/transport.
Taking your business travel policy from good to great will take a bit of time. And generally, when you’re developing a more detailed policy, the process will involve input from a few key stakeholders. But, to kick-start the process for you, here’s a template of questions to guide the first draft of your policy.
Take your policy from drab to fab
It might be just a few lines in an email, a one-page doc or even a few pages of detailed business travel info. No matter how formal or lengthy your policy is, there are ways to take it from good to great.
There are commonalities in business travel policies but really, they’re different for every company. Your culture and your ways of working are unique, and your travel policy will be too.
Read more and download our example of what a good visual travel policy looks like for today’s SME.
“Transitioning to the services offered by Corporate Traveller, including their online booking tool, now allows our managers to approve travel online. The sophistication of the technology has also meant it’s been easily adopted across the board including by the CEO, who now often books his own travel.”
Peter Homan, General Manager of Finance & Corporate Services, Angus Knight
Look, we’re lucky. Travel sells itself...it’s in our human nature to connect with others; whether it’s pleasure or business. We know that every plane has a seat, every hotel has a bed, and you have choice! So how do we, as your TMC, step up? By knowing what will make that airplane seat more comfortable, how to make that room more enjoyable and what will make the whole journey way smoother. That way, your travellers can perform at their peak.
That starts and ends with our people. And we’re not just talking about our Travel Consultants. It’s also all of our other people who sit behind the scenes. The onboarding experts that hold your hand through the process, the in-house emergency service team, the customer success teams and the negotiators that work with the airlines and hotels to secure the best possible rates. It takes an army of travel experts, all fighting for you and your success (and here at Corporate Traveller we’ve been doing it for 40 years).
Customer Success Manager...does what it says in the title
Once you look closer, there's a lot of moving parts, and people, in corporate travel. To run like clockwork is totally possible and we’re here to make it happen. That's why all of our clients get a Customer Success Manager. What do they do? Well, the clue is in the job title. Find out more here.
Business Travel wizards, ready to help
Plenty of our travel teams have more than 100 years of experience between them! That’s phenomenal, right? All that knowledge and expertise, waiting to help travellers with booking, changes and advice at the touch of a button or over the phone.
Q&A with Global Head of Onboarding, James McIlvenna
Onboarding a new customer is the bridge between sales and on-going customer success. It's all about people, culture and goals!
With years in the customer success team behind him, James is poised to ensure we deliver the best experience when companies start to partner with us, wherever they are in the world.
We picked his brains to hear what the onboarding team's priorities are in 2022.
Service – The #1 Concern
Service has never been more important. We all feel it when things go wrong or we’re waiting in a queue, which is why we’re so committed to ensuring our clients don’t. Find out what a recent survey of our people and some clients have to say about service when it comes to their business trips.
Change Loading...getting buy-in
The technical challenges of introducing new technology or admin processes often pale in comparison to the most significant change obstacle of all: internal resistance.
This guide includes:
- Clarifying leadership & change management across the generations
- 3 steps: designing, deploying and driving change
- Bringing an expert on board
Here’s a pointer... whenever you tell the team that you’ve partnered with a new business travel management company, you’ll likely hear concern about employees wanting freedom to book how they wish. Some like to book online, others prefer to get someone else to handle absolutely everything. We’ve already shown you how we deliver when it comes to personalised service....so let’s show you how our tech solution is up to the challenge for those who prefer to book online.
Truth be told, the online booking piece is the easiest. It really is. We’ve integrated hundreds of airlines, hotels and car rentals into our platform, so we serve up everything to your travellers instantly. Literally, we even include small regional airlines that operate in the remote corners of the earth. The real magic comes when our technology begins to understand each traveller’s preferences and we start to serve up products that we know they’ll love – favourite airlines, familiar hotels, and flight times that suit each schedule...the list goes on.
On top of a seamless booking experience, our other tech tools are top notch too. We’ve got you covered with authorisation, risk management, reporting and a very cool mobile app called Sam :].
Five must-have travel business tech tools
Technology for business travel is all about making things simple, streamlining processes, gaining visibility of your spend and travel activity, and most importantly - making sure your people are safe and informed.
On that note, here are our top five technology tools SMEs need for business travel.
Tech + People = The Perfect Combination
Technology is only part of the business travel equation. The real value comes from utilising your tech to its full capacity with help from the people power behind the scenes.
When it comes to SME business travel, having the human touch supporting your digital experience is just as important as having the tools themselves.
Tech vs. Touch: The Great Balancing Act
A report from travel website Skift indicated that 70% of travellers have at some stage, felt they’ve had to fend for themselves when something went wrong while travelling. Why is this?
Is it because the traveller didn’t have the tight tech to inform them of a disruption and connect them to instant support or was it because the chatbot was useless for taking control of the situation?
Companies that will stand out in the future are those that know how to strike the perfect balance between automation and human assistance.
After all, one can’t exist without the other.
Download our insights piece into why tech and touch = is such a delicate balancing act.
Have you met SAM?
Want a travel assistant that fits in your pocket and tells you when there’s a delay that will affect your travel plans before everyone else knows? Meet Sam!
Coming soon: here's what you'll find in future chapters
- Make your business travel count with sustainable transport options
- Learn the value of reporting in a travel program, how we help you gain visibility on money spent, cost savings, time, traveller safety and more
- Get access to exclusive deals with hotels, flights, cars and more
- How we're here for your travellers on the road
What companies have to say about their TMC (well...us!)
“Partnering with Corporate Traveller has simplified our booking processes and made the experience faster and easier. The online booking tool cut our time investment on organising simple trips and whenever I have to deal with a complicated itinerary, the team is always ready for any troubleshooting."
Nicki Witcher, Travel Officer @ Scope Global
“The continuity of the relationship has made our travel program journey so easy. When we call Corporate Traveller we get the same people – not a call centre – which translates to great, personalised service.”
Paul Lemieszek, Facilities Manager @ Gallagher
“We travel a lot for business…it used to be something that was such a big deal for us in terms of the time it took to search and book for flights, but now with Corporate Traveller it’s seamless. They have saved us so much time, helped us to make improvements where we needed to and helped us to create cost and process efficiencies.”
Lucy Johnston, Director @ TCLH
Our team at Piper Alderman likes to self-book and self-manage their business travel and Corporate Traveller gave us the tools and resources to do this seamlessly. The Corporate Traveller online booking tool and reporting system has proven to be a great asset for speeding up the process and ensuring we always have the right information on hand.
Tobias Crush, Finance Director @ Piper Alderman