Your company can enjoy the benefits of travel management right now, no matter how often your employees travel and no matter how much they spend.
Travel management has become essential for modern businesses. Effective travel management means you can know where your employees are traveling, how much they are spending on hotels, flights and cars, and whether or not you can negotiate rates for a better return on your investment.
But is your company big enough for a travel management program? Modern tools are changing the conventional wisdom around when it’s time for travel management, and travel management companies (TMCs) are no longer the sole option for growing companies in search of travel management solutions.
Here’s a look at how your company can access the benefits of travel management, no matter how large or small it is — and no matter how often your team members travel.
How Conventional Wisdom is Changing
Once upon a time, conventional wisdom held that companies should wait for travel management until they were spending $1 million or more on air travel. Why $1 million? Because that was thought to be the point at which a TMC could negotiate better airfares on a company’s behalf.
There was similar conventional wisdom around hiring a full-time travel manager. Most companies would wait until they were spending $4 million or more on air travel to hire a team member focused on travel management.
But conventional wisdom is changing, both in regard to TMCs and full-time travel managers.
Today, companies should consider TMCs and travel management programs much earlier. Rather than waiting to reach $1 million in air spend, consider a TMC and travel management program when owners, executives and managers start to spend a disproportionate amount of time approving tickets. This typically occurs when companies are spending just a few hundred thousand dollars a year on air travel.
Also, there’s a false choice between hiring a full-time travel manager and hiring no one at all. Given modern technology and tools, part-time travel managers can be highly effective, and TMCs can also serve as travel managers in many cases allowing for an admin or individual traveler to arrange their own travel.
Your company can also opt to hire a travel arranger or assign travel arranger responsibilities to an existing employee. A full-time travel arranger position would be an entry-level job, or travel arranger responsibilities could be given to an administrative assistance or a human resources team member.
Given these various options, you don’t have to wait until you’re spending $4 million annually on air travel to hire someone in-house and full-time.
Travel Management ROI
Yes, travel management requires an investment, but what do you ultimately get out of it? Here’s a list of just some of the many benefits you enjoy when you opt for travel management:
- You can find and book the absolute best fares and rates
- You can hold onto and track unused tickets for later use
- You can increase status with airlines, car companies and hotels
- You can reduce cost and track travel spend
- You can fulfill your duty of care obligations and reduce risk
- You can ensure your team members are compliant with travel policies
- You can help travelers, managers and arrangers reduce the amount of time spent on travel arrangements
The benefits of travel management are widespread, so it’s difficult to say that any given company will save a specific percent or amount of money. But travel management and the use of TMCs will save money, and the ROI grows over time as you optimize your travel management program and increase the rate of participation and compliance among your travelers.
Getting Started With Travel Management
While smaller companies might have been reluctant to pursue active travel management in the past, it’s actually quick and easy for these smaller companies to implement travel management programs.
In many cases, a company just getting started with travel management can have a program in place in just a few weeks — or even a few days in some cases. For example, it wouldn’t take long for a company new to travel management to start using a tool like SAP Concur, which makes it easier to book travel and file expenses.
It’s important to remember when you’re first getting started that something is better than nothing. Unmanaged travel is time-consuming and expensive. Just taking the first step toward managed travel and the use of a TMC will yield immediate benefits that save both time and money.
Scaling for Long-Term Success
We live in an age when modern technology makes the scaling of travel management programs as seamless as its implementation. While there may be better tools and TMCs better suited to serving small- and mid-size businesses and others for enterprise-level clients, most tools and TMCs can serve companies ranging from a few travelers to a few thousand.
At JTB Business Travel, for example, we serve a wide range of different-sized businesses — including companies that are debating unmanaged vs. managed travel solutions. While we specialize in mid-size businesses that spend $20 million or less annually on business travel, our services can scale to meet the needs of almost any company.
For smaller businesses or individuals, we offer a marketplace that allows for online booking plus other services that you won’t find through a fare aggregator or similar platforms. This unmanaged travel solution gives you many of the benefits of working with a travel management company — but at a rate that fits into smaller budgets. As you grow, we can layer on our premium level services — end-to-end managed travel and all of the benefits that come with it.
“We’ve always taken a common sense approach to providing managed business travel services, and that applies to companies of all sizes,” said Aash Shravah at JTB Business Travel. “We intentionally structure our services so that businesses can access the support they need, and then to add to that support as their team members start traveling more.”
Just remember that you need both technology and people to successfully scale for long-term success. Technology is important for creating the right systems and maximizing the benefits of travel management. And people — travel managers and support teams at TMCs — provide a human touch and answers that technology can’t deliver.
Are You Ready to Explore the Benefits of Travel Management?
When you’re ready to explore travel management for your company, the team at JTB Business Travel is here to help.
We can help you select the best travel technologies for your business, and we also provide a comprehensive suite of services that can be tailored to meet your company’s needs. Behind every recommendation we make and service we provide is a common sense approach to business travel.
Contact us today to learn more about our travel management services.