Business travel is, for most organizations, vital to growing revenue and maintaining client relationships. However, you want to ensure that your business travel isn’t costing more than it brings in. That’s why regularly measuring the effectiveness of your business travel program is extremely important.
Not sure what data or KPIs you need to look at, in order to gauge your business travel program’s efficacy? Here’s where to start.
Obviously, the primary piece of data that you’ll want to keep an eye on is your business travel spending. However, it’s not just enough to know the total amount of money that your company or organization spent on business travel within any given timeframe.
You should also know things like what percentage of your team’s business travel spending was compliant and what percentage of your team’s business travel spending was non-compliant. If there’s room for improvement, you’ll be able to quickly see that and make the necessary changes to your travel policies, to better ensure compliance in the future.
You also want to narrow in on spending as much as possible to see where you might be losing money unnecessarily. For example, are you spending an exorbitant amount of money on cabin upgrades? Or on client dinners in your travelers’ destinations? If so, you might want to consider cutting back in select areas.
You’ll also want to look at where the spending occurred, i.e., with your TMC, on your employees’ own bill (requiring an expense report and reimbursement), etc. Do you consistently spend less money if you work with your TMC, versus when employees book travel on their own? Think about which channels are most budget-friendly for your company’s unique needs.
Likewise, look at who or what team spends the most, most frequently. Are there any teams or individuals who spend far above and beyond the others? If so, then you may want to consider if this spending is justified or not and address it accordingly.
2. Trip Purpose and Success Rates
If possible, categorize your trips by purpose — whether that’s client meetings, networking, sales, etcetera — and then keep an eye on whether or not those trips’ purposes were fulfilled. Deciding whether or not a trip fulfilled its purpose successfully can be easy in some situations but more difficult in others, as the success of a trip isn’t just based on whether or not your travelers arrived at the destination, went to their meetings and then came home.
For example, if you’re making more trips to see clients around your country or the world, but you’re just as likely to keep your clients that you don’t visit as the clients you do, you may want to reevaluate the value of those client-facing trips and whether or not they’re truly successful. Similarly, if you rarely see new business come from an annual conference or convention, but you’re paying a large amount to get your entire team there, you might want to send fewer team members or cut attendance altogether.
3. Traveler Satisfaction
When it comes to measuring the effectiveness of your business travel, it’s not just the numbers that you need to think about. Happy employees are productive employees, and whether or not your team is happy with their business travel experience will impact how productive those employees are during their business trip.
4. Your Carbon Footprint
More and more, business travelers want to know that leadership is actually doing something about the company’s supposed climate goals and initiatives. Are these goals and initiatives just all talk, or are real steps being taken to reduce the company’s carbon footprint?
Nowadays, there are extensive options when it comes to tools that can track your company’s carbon footprint as related to business travel, so there’s no excuse for not including this data in your KPIs, and even making it available to employees. Employees will appreciate the transparency — and they’ll be able to keep you accountable to your climate goals as they track your company’s business travel carbon footprint over time.
5. Business Travel Partnerships
If your organization has formed business travel partnerships with certain hotel brands, airlines, etcetera, you’ll want to track these partnerships and how much money they’re actually saving you long-term. Depending on the resulting data, you’ll be able to determine whether or not those partnerships are worth keeping and when you might want to look elsewhere for new, more valuable partnerships.
6. Changes and Cancelations
Just because a trip didn’t happen, that doesn’t mean that you don’t need that trip’s data. Keep track of travel changes and cancelations to determine why changes and cancelations are occurring, so you can then adjust your business travel program accordingly.
Is that change a simple matter of a canceled flight or delay? Or is it the case that one team or individual is booking travel that’s not really necessary and then canceling later down the line — leaving you with cancellation fees and administrative costs that could’ve been avoided?
7. Travel Incidences
How often do your employees report travel incidences while on the road? Looking at this important factor can help you better fine-tune the duty of care and risk management aspects of your business travel program. You have to ensure that your employees stay safe, so a higher-than-average number of reported travel incidences could indicate that there’s an issue that needs to be addressed.
Simply gathering your business travel data isn’t enough to make a difference in your company and in your business travel program. Measuring the effectiveness of your business travel requires looking at your compiled data in an easy-to-use format, like the analytics reports provided by Prime Numbers Technology, and then making smart decisions based on those data compilations — which is even easier when you use Grasp Tech to transform your compiled data into actionable insights.
Still, struggling with how and where to start measuring the effectiveness of your business travel? Talk with a member of the JTB Business Travel team today, to learn more about our business intelligence services, which include travel analytics services, expense report automation, travel reporting and more.