Six things your CEO wants to know about business travel

Travel Managers are constantly gathering, mining, and preparing data for their managers and CEO’s, but do the reports cover all the CEO’s questions ?

Here is an interesting comment on the subject posted by Click Travel (UK) recently:

The 6 things your CEO really wants to know about your business travel
Posted by Chris Vince on 29 Jan, 2015

In the Internet age, where limitless information is but a click away, the availability of complex data has become increasingly commonplace within modern travel management. From policy compliance to average rates and online adoption, there are so many things to measure, it’s easy to lose track of what’s really important. So what exactly are the crucial questions that need answering for your CEO to truly understanding your business travel?

1 – How much is being spent?

Your CEO will definitely want to know how much money is being spent on corporate travel. This may sound like a simple thing, but it always amazes me when we talk to prospective customers who genuinely don’t know how much their organisation spends on travel. There are a number of reasons why this might happen – maybe the organisation has different departments doing their own thing, causing costly leakage or maybe the organisation has split travel between different suppliers and the spend with each isn’t collated together for an overall view.

Whatever the reason, if the CEO doesn’t have a clear idea of how much is being spent, then they can’t be expected to drive any new policy recommendations from the top.

2 – What’s it being spent on?

You might know that your organisation is spending, say, a million pounds on corporate travel each year, but is it cost-effective or wildly extravagant with unnecessary overspend? Without a breakdown of where exactly that money is being spent, it’s essentially a meaningless figure.

Sometimes an expense report, which some organisations use, just doesn’t provide the level of detail you need. But if you know precisely what the money is being spent on flights, hotels, trains etc., at what times, with which suppliers and over what period, you will be able to provide your CEO with a true picture of your corporate travel.

3 – Why are we spending it?

It’s great to have a business travel policy in place to control what actually gets booked, but does the travel that’s taking place actually need to happen? This is something that needs to be tracked. Once you know what’s being spent and where that spend is going, you need to analyse why the travel occurs and whether or not it’s necessary.

Is all your budget being spent on internal meetings, or is there one particular customer, who is costing you more in travel costs than expected, that you need to budget for in the future?

Working with a proactive travel management company, you should be able to make your reporting structure dynamic so that when the booker chooses a specific reason for travel, further information can be collected to get the level of detail you need to approve the spend and keep your CEO happy.

4 – Could we have saved some money, and how would we have done it?

So you know what you’re spending, where and why – you’re in a good place. But the next step is a crucial one – you need to find where you could be saving money on your organisation’s travel.

Good reporting will be able to show you quickly and easily what savings have been missed – and where they were missed. If you do use a business travel agent, this is exactly what your account manager should be going through with you on a regular basis.

It may not always be possible to eradicate missed savings completely, but you need to have someone working with you to show you where savings could have been made and how you can make sure they are next time – your CEO will be keen to know you’re on top of everything!

5 – Who’s abusing our policy and spending too much?

This is particularly relevant point if you’ve already been working hard on crafting a great corporate travel policy – you need to know if you have departments or travellers that are regularly abusing the policy and spending too much. Your CEO will want to know that you are enforcing your policy and making sure your travellers understand their role in sticking to budget.

6 – What are our industry competitors spending – what can we learn?

Having looked through what your organisation is doing, it’s time to broaden the vision a little and take a look further afield to get a real picture of where you are.

To do this, you need to know how you rank compared to other comparable organisations. Some travel management companies can show you how your organisation compares to other organisations of a similar size, industry, location etc. and share best practices on how to change traveller behaviour and lower your travel spend. Joining organisations such as the Institute of Travel and Meetings or the Global Business Travel Association will also help you track your performance.

If, with the help of your TMC, you can arm yourself with the answers to the questions we’ve discussed above, you can be confident that both you and your CEO are in the very best position to understand, evaluate and develop your organisation’s business travel strategy.

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