Almost every business decision made, including by procurement managers, aims to save money and help keep the company’s bottom line strong. Procurement managers, in particular, should take advantage of a few key strategies to save on corporate travel with savvy corporate airfare procurement and other strategies. Acknowledge That the “Average” Corporate Traveler Changes Over Time As you try to optimize your corporate airfare procurement, remember that today’s corporate travelers are different from those of decades past. Millennial travelers make up a significant amount of business travelers, and they have different priorities. For example, they typically want to incorporate some leisure into their business trips. Keeping the needs of your corporate travelers in mind will save money via employee satisfaction. After all, your employees are more likely to volunteer for business trips or accept travel assignments if they are happy with their travel experiences. They are also more likely to stay with your company. Create Systems and Policies for the Travel Program As with any other part of your company’s operations, it is important to create systems, workflows, and policies for the corporate travel program. Systemization makes the process more efficient, as you will have set workflows for everything from booking and approvals to risk management and expense processes. That increased efficiency translates into cost savings, as fewer labor hours are required to complete the same task. Systemization also makes it much easier to onboard new staff to your travel procurement team. Training them becomes easier, as you can simply outline your systems. It also allows for easier access to insights that can lead to business travel cost savings. That comes from the fact that you will have easy points of comparison between bookings and other actions. On top of that, creating a system also helps ensure that you meet risk management standards and duty of care obligations. Simply work them into your systems, and you will always follow the relevant standards. Frequently Reevaluate Policies Once you create policies and systems for your travel program, don’t just leave them in place. Savvy corporate airfare procurement strategies involve constantly looking at data and technological developments to see where there is room for improvement. This may mean adopting new technology into your processes or changing policies to meet the preferences of your new corporate travelers. Be Active With Travel Management—  Consider TMCs While delegating is important, the decision-makers in a company should at least have some involvement in travel management. Senior management has to interact with travel procurement managers at least occasionally so they can understand the issues they are facing. If the company uses a travel management company, senior management needs to interact with them or at least read reports from them. Take Advantage of TMCs Even if there is already someone in the company responsible for travel procurement, working with a travel management company (TMC) can be a savvy decision. The internal procurement manager can serve as the liaison, ensuring that senior management is up to date with developments and advice from the TMC. But at the same time, you get the advantages of working with a TMC, such as:
  • Support in Supplier Negotiations: As with any other business-to-business interaction, supplier negotiations offer a significant opportunity for cost savings. TMCs have the experience necessary to help you negotiate a good contract. They can leverage your traffic volume to get good deals or leverage their own volume if your company doesn’t have enough.
  • Support for Travel Policies: TMCs can also use their experience to help you manage and adjust your travel policies, not just for cost savings. This can also help with employee happiness and overall efficiency.
  • Access to Pricing: The connections of TMCs typically mean that they have access to the best pricing for corporate travel. This has the obvious advantage of letting you save money on that travel.
  • Unused Ticket Tracking: Any company with corporate travel will have unused tickets at some point. If you don’t take advantage of these, you are letting a significant amount of money go down the drain. TMCs can track them and use them for you.
Tools Can Make These TMC Tasks Easier Interestingly, many of those benefits that you get from using a TMC can also come from using the right business travel procurement tools. For instance, there are tools such as Oversee that let you get the best price, track unused tickets, and get insights into travel policies. For even better results, you can use these airfare procurement automation tools together with a TMC. In fact, the best TMCs will encourage you to use such tools. Use Travel Management Technology Perhaps the opportunity for the biggest savings comes from using technology to manage travel, such as for business travel procurement tools. The right tools will automate processes that could otherwise be time-consuming. Again, Oversee makes a great example of airfare procurement automation tools. Its solutions automatically pay attention to prices, such as via its airfare saver. Oversee uses automation to track the prices of flights. This allows it to track the fluctuations in price for your chosen flights so your employees can have the same exact flight as planned, even down to the seat, but you can still save money on it. Integrated Solutions When choosing business travel procurement tools to use, ensure that they are compatible with your existing programs. You need to be able to integrate with your solutions and with the relevant information. Oversee, for example, is integrated with core TMCs around the world. Allowing for Improvement Another important criterion for airfare procurement automation tools is the ability to provide insights that will let you improve your cost savings and your policies overall. For example, you could look for the ability to optimize travel programs over time based on insights and valuable data. The Takeaway While corporate travel is expensive, it is a necessary part of many businesses. Travel managers can use smart strategies to keep the costs of corporate travel low so this necessity doesn’t negatively affect the company’s bottom line. From automation tools to taking advantage of the expert knowledge of TMCs to creating a policy that you constantly reevaluate and update when necessary, there are multiple strategies that can put you on the right track. ]