Enhancing your travel program – preparing for what comes next
According to a report released by the Global Business Travel Association on March 24th, about 96% of companies have canceled and/or suspended "all" or "most" international business travel regardless of location due to the coronavirus pandemic. While these stats are unprecedented, the situation has provided travel managers with the unusual opportunity to wipe the slate clean on their travel programs and re-evaluate opportunities for improvement. Taking the time to make changes now will benefit you in the long run and ensure that strategic savings and more oversight on your travel program are achieved in the months ahead.
Here are our top tips to help you utilize this time to come out stronger:
Finding areas for cost-savings is important now more than ever. Before ramping up your travel program again, identify what aspects could be reduced or eliminated. Are people doing single day trips that should be a virtual meeting or simply traveling when and where they shouldn’t be? In order to effectively evaluate these variables, you need good visibility over your data. Ensure that your TMC has the capabilities and flexibility to provide you with the dashboards you need to make informed decisions on essential vs. non-essential travel.
There’s no denying that we are currently in a buyer’s market. Travel suppliers will welcome the certainty that comes with securing multi-year contracts, as they represent future secured revenue as soon as travel starts flowing again. Now is a good time to leverage your TMC relationships and lock in better-than-market terms with airlines, hotels, and car rental agencies to drive future savings.
Re-evaluate your risk management resources
COVID-19 has put even the most robust risk management programs to the test. Ensure that the tools your TMC offers are powered by a reputable crisis management provider, such as WorldAware, which gives you immediate access to reliable crisis information. Security automation is key and can drastically cut down your response time in getting travelers to safety, especially in conjunction with mobile apps like FCM’s Sam that link to WorldAware and enable critical intelligence to be shared with travelers.
Communicating policy changes
Most companies have changed their travel policy and will most likely make further changes before travel picks up again. The best way to let your travelers know what they can and cannot do is to simplify it for them. FCM has created a tool that will do just this by taking the key points of your travel policy and create a one-page infographic.
Find the right balance of people and technology
The coronavirus crisis highlights the importance of having access to travel experts who can provide support and respond quickly to your travelers. Technology tools such as FCM’s bespoke COVID-19 dashboard are critical, but only function at their strongest when driven by people who can deliver the travel modifications needed for each specific situation. FCM has the strong network needed to aid travelers in both day-to-day situations and during times of crisis, from our account managers who step into action when travelers are at risk to travel consultants who help bring your people home.
If you feel that your program is missing key service elements, contains opportunities for cost reduction or improved supplier contracts, or requires better risk management tools and strategies, reach out to us. We’re still working every day for our clients and we’d like to extend our service to you.