As travel makes a comeback at organizations around the world, compliance can be an effective lever for controlling the overall cost of business travel.
The cost of business travel plummeted in 2020. Amazon revealed in its third-quarter earnings report that year that the company saved an astonishing $1 billion. The cost of business travel fell because of the pandemic, of course, but Executives are currently looking for ways to keep costs low as their organizations return to travel.
As a Travel Manager, you may find yourself in a position where you’re expected to keep employees traveling while holding down costs to the greatest extent possible. That’s a tough assignment, but there’s one area where you can focus your efforts to yield maximum results: compliance.
When you increase the level of compliance across your organization, cost reduction opportunities emerge in 4 different areas. Here’s a look at those 4 areas and how Travel Managers can use compliance to maximize their organizations’ investment in travel.
4 Key Areas to Reduce the Cost of Business Travel
1. Save With Data
Compliant booking by employees ensures that organizations have access to rich data sets that can help them analyze their overall spending on travel. This data is invaluable as companies attempt to calculate the return on investment they get from business travel, and it’s also extremely helpful when it comes time to create travel budgets and then to negotiate with various vendors.
Before the pandemic, many companies operated without attention to detail related to their travel spending. Things are different now. As noted above, Executives who played a role in limiting business travel as the pandemic unfolded in 2020 are now equally as interested in controlling the cost of business travel.
Travel Managers can support this aim by capturing as much data as possible for analysis. In turn, this data can be used to reduce overall travel spending without significantly affecting travel-related objectives.
2. Save With Approvals
About two-thirds of respondents to a Deloitte survey on the future of business travel indicate that the focus on travel costs will lead to limiting travel frequency. The same survey suggests that organizations may opt for “more economical travel alternatives” to help reduce travel-related costs.
Compliance can help on both fronts.
Compliant booking means an established approvals process. Most organizations have changed their definition of essential travel, and the new definition can mean that some trip requests that were approved pre-pandemic are now being denied.
Compliant booking can also help keep your Travelers within a specific budget for flights, lodging, rental cars and other expenses. You want your Travelers to be as comfortable as possible, naturally, but you also want to keep spending within reasonable limits.
3. Save With Duty of Care
The pandemic has renewed the emphasis on duty of care. All organizations have a duty-of-care responsibility to keep their Travelers as safe as possible while away from the office. For example, when the pandemic started spreading beyond China’s borders in early 2020, corporations worked urgently to get their Travelers home as fast as possible.
Some companies may not think of duty of care as an activity that saves money. But think about the liability your company would be exposed to without proper duty-of-care strategies and tactics in place. The cost could be overwhelming.
When you raise compliance levels among your group of Travelers, your organization is better positioned to live up to its duty-of-care responsibility, which can lead to long-term indirect savings.
4. Save With Sustainability
Companies may view sustainability and corporate social responsibility (CSR) as expenses. But studies indicate that companies investing in sustainability and CSR can expect to see strong financial returns related to those investments.
How is that possible? It’s because companies that operate CSR programs are able to increase sales and prices, and they also experience lower employee turnover.
Sustainability has become a buzzword in business travel. Carbon offsets are now available for organizations that want to focus on sustainability. Many airlines are also using sustainable jet fuel, and most hotels have in place sustainability programs.
When you create a travel policy that rewards compliance, you can nudge your Travelers toward sustainable options — which leads to the CSR-related benefits mentioned above.
Get Help Boosting Compliance
There are many different approaches to boosting travel policy compliance across your organization to help reduce the cost of business travel. But one of the most effective approaches is partnering with a travel management company that is deeply experienced in helping companies create travel policies and increase compliance.
At JTB Business Travel, we work with companies large and small to ensure they maximize the return on investment they enjoy from business travel, while also helping their Travelers enjoy the most productive and comfortable itineraries possible. Behind everything we do is a common-sense approach to business travel.