The New Year brings the usual crop of articles relating to sorting out the business travel budget. This selection brings the invariable plethora of time-honored things to do. Book more in advance, review your TMC's performance, use online booking tools, get to grips with your data - and maybe a few new ones, such as gamification.
What about getting back to basics and making more of a comparison of what was and what is, now? As time goes by, corporates find themselves bombarded with the latest tech, the latest way of presenting reports and perhaps worst of all, the latest industry buzz-words.
We need to think about where the actual travel cost is generated. Travel costs precisely nothing until someone elects to go somewhere. The most effective way of saving money on travel, is not to travel in the first place.
Travel cost is generated when an agent or the traveler presses the "book" button. A very simple act, yet one which invokes a world of technology and all sorts of on-costs, reports and analysis that can linger around any organisation for many months after the event. All that reporting costs more money, the analysis costs money and the technology involved certainly costs money.
So, the focus of any corporate must be on that moment when the "book" button is pressed. By looking more closely at that particular moment, we can start to find ways of reducing spend. This means we need to answer three questions (or steps, if you prefer):
Why was it pressed? (Have all options been considered?)
Who pressed it? (Has whoever pressed the button considered the "Why"?)
What processes were followed before the button was pressed? (Is the travel event really required?)
Over the next blog posts, I aim to start to develop the ideas surrounding the three questions. Where, perhaps, any corporate travel budget needs to scrap present thinking, start a fresh sheet and re-address how they approach travel budgets. By focusing on the book button, we can start to reconstruct travel management into a lasting, cost-effective process.