Let’s face it, travel management can be quite the handful, and it can get out of hand fast. When looking after travel expenses, budgets, unused tickets, flight changes, and everything else travel management has to offer, you want to make sure that you have the correct travel reporting processes.
More Data, More Problems.
Let’s take a couple of steps back and think about what happens every time one of your employees travels. We need to book everything involved with the trip, organise and coordinate with the vendors that will be used, and monitor how the trip will follow the corporate travel policy.
Sounds simple enough, but valuable data is created every time one of your employees travels. The more employees you have, the more data created, and the bigger the risk that you might miss something in that data. As the saying goes, more data, more problems.
So, what are the most critical pieces of data to measure? First, let’s walk through the three most important categories of data.
3 Categories of Data You Don’t Want To Overlook.
You’re probably thinking there’s one central theme to measuring and analysing data, the financial benefits. But there’s more to it than that, and although cost savings are vital, there are two other key factors that can help the business overall.
What’s the most crucial part of any business? The employees. Keeping employees happy means increasing employee retention rates, which helps improve the bottom line. We want to look hard at the data to determine how satisfied employees are with their trips. Examples include employee satisfaction rating, employee engagement with the booking companies, and SLA agreement satisfaction.
This one is pretty obvious; we want to measure the financial performance of each trip. We do this to figure out how we can maximise cost savings to protect our bottom line. Examples include total spend, excess spending outside of booking tools, and cost savings.
And lastly, efficiency data covers productivity and return on investment. We want to know how well the trip went and if it was worth our time and money investment. Examples include the overall productivity rate, impact of travel within the business, and overall trip success rate.
The 8 Tips
Without further ado, let’s talk about the eight tips that will revolutionise your travel management program.
1. Monitoring employee methods of payment
The first and most straightforward optimisation is to make sure that we keep track of how our employees are making payments and ensure compliance with company policy. If you currently issue employees with a company supplied credit card to cover travel expenses, you will need to measure the levels of non-compliance. An easy way to do this is to have a travel and expense policy that you can reference.
Doing so can streamline the reimbursement process and significantly reduce occupational fraud.
2. Negotiating travel savings
An easy way to reduce costs on all trips is to negotiate and secure travel discounts with vendors. Now, you’re probably already doing this, which is fantastic. To take it further, it’s always wise to calculate the exact amount of savings made by having these secured partnerships. Doing so will help you quickly identify the partnerships worth continuing and determine the ones that you may need to renegotiate or terminate.
3. Knowing the average trip spend
Knowing the average amount spent per trip is an absolute necessity. However, it’s vital to break down trip spending by project or team to make financial decisions accurately.
By doing this, you’ll be able to pinpoint the return on investment of the specific trips. The advantage of doing this is that you’ll be able to clearly see which department is spending more than the others and potentially discover trends as to why they are.
4. Travel incident report tracking
Monitoring the safety of your employees is a no brainer, plus you have a legal obligation to do so. Implementing risk management policies will ensure that you abide by this legal obligation.
You’ll want to address risks including illness (such as the COVID-19 global pandemic), entry requirements, political unrest and even regional security concerns.
Once in place, you’ll want to monitor the number of incident reports and average them over set timeframes. These insights will give you a good indication of how safe your employees are when they travel.
5. Employee satisfaction
At the end of every trip, you should be asking how satisfied your employees are with their business trip. By doing so, you will get an indication of their experiences and how you can better improve.
Remember, happy employees equals higher retention rates. Examples of questions you should ask include expenses, accommodation experience, booking satisfaction, and any transportation issues.
6. Limiting the number of last-minute bookings
As soon as you know that an event is booked in and travel is required for your employees, book ahead. Doing so will save you money and give you greater flexibility with travel arrangements.
7. Number of cancellations, rebookings & trip changes
To maximise savings, you’ll want to analyse the number of cancellations, rebookings, and trip changes. By doing this, you’ll be able to see if there are any times in the year where any of the three takes place the most.
Wherever possible, you’ll also want to stay clear of making unnecessary changes or cancellations to booking as this will often result in an expensive fee.
8. Travel-management software
Implementing the seven optimisations above is a perfect start, but it also means that you’ll need to create your own processes, which can be time-consuming.
An easier way to implement them is to invest in travel management software. This software will give you complete visibility into your travel spending, allow you to automate your travel policy and give you better support.
For more information on implementing these optimisations, you can book a free demo of our corporate travel management software.