The emergence of advanced technologies and the wide availability of choices through different online channels have made life easier and travel bookings more accessible to business travellers than before. Cheaper flights and hotels, in addition to negotiated rates, have put unmanaged travel program in the driver’s seat. This begs the questions: is unmanaged travel program better than managed travel program?  The answer is definitely ‘no’. This blog explores why managed corporate travel may be just the thing to enhance travel safety and improve bottom lines.

What is unmanaged travel?

Also termed ‘open booking’, unmanaged travel allows business travellers to make their travel booking independently through undesignated and unstructured booking channels online. Usually, companies adopting an open travel management strategy utilize third-party expense management systems and a range of travel apps and websites for data capture.

What are the differences between Managed corporate travel and unmanaged business travel?

  • With unmanaged business travel, the relationship with individual vendors, suppliers and service providers are usually fragile. There is no dearth of hidden fees such as fuel surcharges, airport lounge access and amenities fees. Most of these hidden charges are non-returnable, non-negotiable and non-refundable which means travellers have to brace themselves for premium prices. Companies that are bound by travel management policies, as part of the managed travel program, enjoy pre-negotiated rates, discounts, exclusive content and waived fees with a network of airlines, hotels and car rentals, not otherwise found on travel apps and websites.
  • Greater cost control with increased travel insight: With unmanaged travel program there is no way you can improve the bottom line as you need to know much travel spend is. Travel data is crucial for better rates and discount negotiation with airlines and hotels.  One definite plus of a managed travel program is an analysis of complete real-time data through analytical tools that will offer greater insights into the business travel pattern and help set up the negotiation process.
  • Traveller safety & security: Unmanaged travel program offers little, if nothing when it comes to the safety and security of the traveller, particularly crisis management and employee location tracking. In fact, they fail to satisfy even minimum travel safety standards, whereas a managed business travel program covers on-demand traveller tracking tools, complete travel itineraries and tracking employee location 24×7. For example, there may be situations where rebooking a flight is required to avert travel disruption or other potential risks relating to business travel, a managed travel program can come to the rescue then.
  • If you think managing corporate travel is only about cutting costs, controlling budget, resources, results and people, thing again. You need to offer safety cover and help avert potential risks during travel. Only managed travel program comprising travel policy and Duty of Care (DOC) can provide the traveller manager and travellers with greater peace of mind and cost optimization techniques.
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