An effective travel policy is understood and practised by everyone and balances consideration of your travellers with keeping to your company’s financial and time constraints.
However, a recent survey indicated that “68% of business travellers book more than half of their travel outside of company approved tools.” Often the reason for this can be that the traveller feels too constrained by the policy and seeks to find alternative options independently.
Why is that so bad? Travellers booking away from preferred platforms and out of policy can result in loss of company hotel membership points and air miles, more expensive trips being purchased and avoidance of proper approval flows. Not to mention escalating tension between travellers and travelling itself.
So what can you do to ensure harmony between your travellers and your travel policy? Well, at Gray Dawes Travel we’re always happy to help and have listed our top 8 tips to drive travel policy compliance.
FLEXIBLE PAYMENT FACILITIES
Buying tickets online for your traveller might seem like the easiest option. However, your traveller will have to present the card the tickets were purchased with – which quickly becomes complicated when the company credit card is being passed around.
Having a Travel Management Company (TMC) in place means that you can pay in a variety of ways, including using any card at the station’s machines. At Gray Dawes Travel, we pride ourselves on our flexibility. You can pay for your ticket (and indeed, all your travel) at intervals and by methods that suit you.
SIMPLIFIED TICKET COLLECTION
As mentioned above, ticket collection can be tricky without a TMC for payment reasons. Yet even when equipped with a card to use, ticket collection is just another thing that a business traveller has to find time in their day to do. Rather than standing around in a queue for the ticket machine, a Travel Management Company can print off your train tickets and post them to your office or to your traveller directly. Easing the stress and minimising disruption to the journey.
INDEPENDENT AND IN POLICY BOOKING
Yes it’s possible!
A travel management company can provide you with an online booking tool, allowing your travellers to book their own trains (as well as hotel and flights and car hire) and only shows in-policy price options. This gives your travellers the independence to book travel on the go, while giving you the assurance that it will keep in line with your budgets.
What’s more, through API technology trips can be synced with expense management solutions, making booking and invoicing travel smoother than ever.
AUTOMATED RAILCARD SAVINGS
This can yield great savings for your business. With the release of the new 26-30 card, essentially all your travellers aged 16 – 30 can travel with a third off rail tickets.
Booking with a TMC, means this information is always stored on their profile and automatically deducted from the final costs, guaranteeing you a saving and avoiding human error.
MAKE USE OF EXPERT KNOWLEDGE
Many people are confident booking trains, but if you add up all the time your experts spend organising travel per year, how many working days could have been better spent utilising their skill set?
Well, a Travel Management Company’s area of expertise is to source and book travel!
A TMC will be able to utilise their industry knowledge to help your business optimise your travel spend. For example, if you’re based in Manchester and have a meeting in London at 10am, you might be tempted to get an anytime return on your own, but you’ll be spending where you don’t have to. Buying a fixed single to make your meeting and an anytime return single so you can leave at your leisure means you’re not restricted by time and will be a much cheaper option. Tips like this “split ticketing” are second nature to travel experts and is one of many benefits to having a Travel Management Partnership.
MAKE FULL USE OF YOUR DATA
Booking with a TMC, (whether that’s via phone/email or through their online booking platform) ensures all your traveller’s behaviour is logged in one place. You can clearly see who books out of policy trips and have an accurate view of your travel spend. Having a clear view of your data gives you full control to decide where to make cost savings, – something you wouldn’t have if you booked alone.
24/7 SUPPORT AND COMPENSATION
Imagine getting a train to meet your client at their office 3 hours away, but your connection is delayed by an hour and you miss the train and your meeting. That’s 4 hours of your experts time wasted.
Having a flexible Travel Management Company partnership means that in unfortunate times of rail delays, we can react to your situation quickly. Our 24/7 team can quickly book your traveller on a train back to the office and cancel the hotel they had booked for the meeting, ensuring you’re directly refunded and your traveller doesn’t waste any further valuable time.
For more information on how a Travel Management Company can save you time, whilst reducing your business travel spend please contact one of the team.
Damian Hinds, the Security Minister at the Home Office, recently shared with us and fellow BTA members a personal letter, detailing what the UK Border Control is doing to prepare for the busy summer period, specifically with business travellers in mind. Not only is this useful information for the corporate traveller, it shows the importance the Home Office places on the business travel industry, and the value of influence and collaboration between government and TMCs.
This fascinating Travel Talks covers how to achieve travel sustainability within your organisation and provides insights into what both Gray Dawes and our guest, EasyJet, are proactively doing in this space.
Thankfully, travel is firmly back on the agenda and the pent-up desire to get away has helped the industry bounce back. Challenges remain, and Gray Dawes is here to help face them down as much as we possibly can do.