Tag Archives: travel management

Want to be Number One? Put Employee Wellbeing First

A happy workforce is a productive one. That’s why more and more organisations are taking account of employee wellbeing in their business travel activities.

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Recently, a term that has been trending among procurement professionals is ‘employee wellbeing’. It refers not only to the physical and mental health of your workforce but also to the idea that a happy workforce will be a more productive one and this is nowhere more evident than in the business travel industry.

When it comes to sending your team on the road, there are so many factors to consider, from speed and efficiency to cost effectiveness and reliability. Now we can add employee wellbeing to the list, and arguably it should be up there at the top. Evidence is emerging that the welfare of your team can impact performance and the growth of your entire operation.

Business travel, especially international, can offer exciting opportunities for personal career growth, as well as a chance to experience new cultures, foods, people and environments. On the flip side, frequent international travel can also be highly stressful and physically demanding with the need to adjust to changing climates and time zones. Putting work needs before personal needs is a common habit of many frequent work fliers. Yet, everyone knows that a well-rested employee is better able to give their all and achieve great results.

There are a number of steps that travel managers can take to ensure the health and happiness of the team. Here are some effective strategies for improving the wellbeing of your team and, in turn, benefitting your business.

Integrating Employee Wellbeing

If you’re new to this, here are some tips on how to integrate wellbeing strategies into your business travel policy:

1. Ensure a stress-free ride:

Reliance on multiple transfers and public transportation in an unfamiliar location can lead to lost time through the confusion, lost connections and complex directions. This means that your employee is likely to arrive flustered, delayed and not in the best shape for work.  

You need to simplify the logistics, minimize stress and cut down on wait times. Find a provider that can offer both pre-book and on-demand options at home and abroad with a reliable service that can ensure rapid arrival times.

To achieve this you’ll be looking for a provider with a large fleet size, as this will enable it to guarantee availability, so long journeys aren’t made even longer.

2. Go with a service you know

Use brands you trust and have a relationship with. This way you and your employees know you are getting a reliable, secure service, which helps to create a relaxing travel experience.

Choose a provider that prioritizes fleet security, using vetted cars both locally and internationally, so that you can be absolutely certain that your employees are travelling in safety and your ‘duty of care’ obligations are being met.

3. Keep track of your team

Tracking tools can keep you informed of where your employees are, especially when they travel abroad. This allows you to guarantee their safety and make it possible to locate and assist them in case of travel disruptions, caused by political upheaval, extreme weather, or any other kind of emergency.

4. Take your foot off the gas

Add breathing room into the schedule. Just because, hypothetically, your employee could fit all six meetings into one day, spreading the work over two days will allow your team member to arrive to each meeting well, properly recharged, rested and prepared.

In addition, build in flexibility in the schedule gives employees time to see the sights, and decompress, enjoying a new city so they can get back on the job refreshed and reinvigorated.

5. Spread the word

Set travel policies in advance and then make sure they are well advertised.  Employees are frequently unaware of their options, particularly with foreign travel.

For example, in an unfamiliar environment, employees may use an unvetted cab service, if they are not aware of partnerships with local providers. Or if they become unwell while abroad, they may be unaware of insurance coverage. This could result in them trying to hold out until they get home with regard to a medical issue that would be better dealt with immediately.

The performance and the personal wellbeing of your employees are tightly interwoven. Being at their best is what allows your team to give their best. To achieve this goal, companies need to ensure a friction-free travel experience for their employees.

To perform at their peak, they need to be able to relax between meetings and at the end of the workday. By partnering with a reliable, pre-approved service your company can meet its duty of care anywhere in the world.

Learn more on how to make your employees’ travel experience healthier, happier and more productive here.

Rush Hour: High Risk, Hidden Costs and Unexpected Travel Spend

Travel is complex, costly, affects the vast majority of your organisation’s employees, and everyone has an opinion on best practice. It is also one of the most “mature” categories managed by procurement professionals. So why so many challenges?

Travel was one of the very first categories ever formally managed by procurement.  It is what I like to call a “mature category”, which means we should have it well and truly under control…. however…

An eye watering $1 trillion is spent on corporate travel every year. 

It is a category in which the scope has mushroomed to cover not just air travel, transport and accommodation, but also expense management technology, teleconferencing, events – the full end to end complexity of corporate travel. 

Nestled within that, is the specific category of ground transportation. 

The transport industry has changed dramatically over the past fifteen years. The number of daily, corporate rides being booked has increased by 10 per cent since 2010, while personal bookings have increased by 58 per cent.

It is a category notorious for its administrative burden! And therefore, for procurement professionals, it is a category ripe for disruption. As it stands currently, travel costs are 10 per cent of total spend but 90 per cent of the headache. In some cases, it takes approximately 10 minutes to process a single travel expense claim and with an average of 7 receipts per person submitted per month – that’s a lot of wasted time!

By 2020, half of all these business trips will be done by employees expecting a B2C style user experience – online, on-demand, seamless and consistent.  

Blanketed over the broad scope this corporate travel category are some very serious concerns – sustainability, employee safety and cybersecurity.

And so today, as a corporate travel manager, you need to concern yourself with a whole new set of factors including:

  • employee safety
  • technology implementation
  • quality of service
  • sustainability
  • total cost optimisation
  • maverick spend

All this to manage, and we haven’t even mentioned pacifying your CEO’s when they’re bumped out of first class, or their chauffeur doesn’t turn up on time!

In our latest webinar Rush Hour: High Risk, Hidden Costs and Unexpected Travel Spend we explored the different aspects of how to manage the total cost of ownership within this complex, emotional category.

Sign up to listen now as we discuss:

  • Managing the total cost of ownership within this complex category 
  • How AI, IoT, Blockchain and other innovative technologies are transforming the way procurement pros work – improving transparency and mitigating risk in business travel
  • How to ensure corporations deliver a high quality and personalised serviceon a global scale
  • Why sustainability is coming to the forefront of global travel

FAQs

Is the Rush Hour webinar available to anyone?

Absolutely! Anyone & everyone can register for the webinar and it won’t cost you a penny to do so. Simply sign up here.

How do I listen to the Rush Hour webinar?

Simply sign up here and you’ll be able to listen to the on-demand. 

Why wait when you can have it now?

No one wants to wait more than five mins for anything these days – least of all for a taxi – or an on-demand webinar recording!

Luckily, Rush Hour: High Risk, Hidden Costs and Unexpected Travel Spend is now available on demand.

Click here to listen as we discuss:

Would You Couchsurf to Make Business Travel Savings?

Splitting travel savings with employees may be the best way to encourage travellers to treat every dollar of company money as their own.

A New-York based consultant, Geoff, has to visit a client in Seattle. He logs onto his organisation’s travel management system to book his flight and hotels.

The app recommends a flight that’s within budget and suits his timeframe. However, Geoff ignores this, scrolls through a list of other options, and selects a flight leaving later for a cheaper price.

Similarly, he chooses not to go with the 4-star hotel recommended by the system. He instead chooses a slightly cheaper hotel that’s still convenient to his destination.

Upon arrival in Seattle, Geoff walks past the cab rank to the bus stop. He’s thinking about where he can get a cheap but healthy meal to avoid ordering room service.

As he makes each travel-related purchase, he’s scanning receipts into his travel app, which subtracts the costs from his total travel budget.

Geoff is behaving like he’s spending his own money rather than his organisation’s travel budget. Why? Because in essence, it is his own money. His company has an arrangement in place where employees are allocated 50 per cent of the savings if they come in under their allocated travel budget.

It’s entirely automated. At the end of his trip, the travel management system takes the difference between the budget and Geoff’s actual costs, splits the savings, and adds half to Geoff’s next pay check.

Sharing travel savings encourages a cost-conscious culture

Why aren’t more organisations sharing travel savings? Possibly, it’s due to a myopic attitude where travel managers are reluctant to part with any savings whatsoever, preferring to allocate every dollar straight back to the bottom line.

However, there’s a much bigger prize at stake. Building a cost-conscious culture and creating that critical mind-shift where employees start treating company money as their own.

Shared travel savings might also fix the multi-billion dollar “open booking” problem. In the US, for example, 50 per cent of hotel bookings and 24 per cent of airline bookings occur outside corporate travel programs. This presents a significant compliance challenge and visibility problem.

Creating a policy wherein shared savings can only be claimed when bookings are made through the approved system would provide a major incentive for employees to comply.

Where can employees save on travel costs?

Here are a few ideas for frugal travel across transport, meals and accommodation:

Flights

Even if your organisation allows you to fly business class, do you really need to? What about flying at a different time of day to get a cheaper fare? A common reason employees go outside approved travel management systems is a belief they can find a better deal themselves.

The TripScanner start-up (acquired last year by Coupa) provides a clever way around this issue. Employees can book travel options via any website they like, so long as they sync their purchases with TripScanner. The software then automatically checks each booking against the company’s travel policy.

Ground transport

Can you take the train or a bus rather than a taxi? How about Uber? There’s always going to be a trade-off between the convenience of being taken directly to your destination and having to walk from the bus stop. However, with the prospect of an extra $25 in your pocket, employees might just choose the bus.

Meals

Consider grabbing a cheap meal rather than paying inflated prices for room service. Keep in mind that “cheap” doesn’t necessarily have to mean “unhealthy”. Eating well and affordably takes planning, as room service is most often ordered when busy travellers run out of time.

Accommodation

This is where your company’s travel policy need to be absolutely clear, because accommodation (and to a lesser extent, transport) involves a safety factor.

Having an approved list of hotels will stop truly frugal employees from trying to save drastically by booking hotels in undesirable parts of town. Or even (in extreme cases) going for an unconventional option such as Couchsurfing.

Setting it up

There are some things to bear in mind when setting up a system such as this.

  • Better planning: Saving money when travelling takes planning, because needlessly expensive flights, taxis and meals are usually chosen due to tight schedules.
  • Get the budget right: Travel managers need to do their research to get the travel budget right for their organisation, as setting it too high will mean losing money unnecessarily. Fortunately, there’s software available to help with this task. A sophisticated travel management system will allocate a unique budget to each trip, rather than a blanket dollar figure for all travel.
  • Make sure your travel policy suits your risk appetite: Travel policies can vary wildly, from tightly-controlled lists of accommodation options, to a free system where employees can do as they like. Again, encouraging frugality may cause some employees to select unsafe options, which is why couchsurfing or ridesharing may need to be excluded from the system.
  • Frugal travelling isn’t for everyone: For some, saving money when travelling might not be a priority. Having a comfortable flight or good night’s sleep in a nice hotel might be much more important than winning back a few hundred dollars extra per month, and that’s fine. Again, it’s important to set the budget as accurately as possible, and be clear in your travel policy about what happens if employees go over budget.

Does your company share travel savings? What are your tips for beating the travel budget?