Travelling employee’s booking behaviour can cost you business – big time. It is more likely the big spending on a hotel room, making a last minute air booking, or a major deviation from your travel policy can heavily impact operational costs. The company has to identify these behavioural deviations from the established travel policy, and make suitable amendments as required. Here is what you need to do in order to plug the holes:

Unauthorized  travel bookings:

Travel managers hear this all the time – business travelers often take their own route and book through their specialized apps or corporate travel agents, losing out on the prospects of negotiated deals. This is clearly a case of unauthorized travel booking; companies must define the role of travel manager in authorizing business travel bookings, and all booking queries must be routed only through him/her to avoid communication gaps.

Third-party bookings:

Employees failing to book thorough designated channels, as discussed already, may miss out on the cost-saving options with approved suppliers. Companies that adopt travel management software have already approved vendors, airlines and hotel chains with regular deals and discounts on their platform which travel managers need to push hard internally to minimise travel costs and reduce overspends.

Short-notice bookings:

We have already seen in some of our previous blogs how travel booking in advance can offer substantial cost-savings compared to bookings at short notice. This said many a time, travelling employees regularly request travel just days before departure citing ‘urgent’ reasons. Travel managers need to ensure what can be done in this case to optimise savings. They should encourage employees to give priory to advance bookings as much as possible with suitable reward points for doing so.

Flexible travel policy:

A company travel policy should apply to different levels of management positions and avoid frustration creeping in the ranks of junior and mid-level professionals in the case of uneven travel benefits and allowances. A flexible business travel policy should incorporate an ‘across-the-board’ approach to cost cutting rather than turning out ‘willy nilly’. Further, the employee morale, along with the potential price point, is boosted when the company averages out allowances for the benefit of the whole – this also means less cramming into a particular class. Let travelling employees wield some control over booking, accommodation and food without handing them a sheet of paper with a list of rules written all over it.

Spending your money:

What a business traveler doesn’t get is that it’s not his or her money, and that the company won’t mind if the cab is little more expensive or if the client is offered a luxury dining experience. Travel managers need to incentivize employees every time they’re able to save money, whether it is taking a low cost carrier or choosing a low-budget hotel. Ideally, travel managers can look into past travel transactions to analyse saving opportunities, spending trends and cost estimates. The big cost-cutters must be rewarded with a standard percentage based on his/her cost savings for the company.

Though developing a business travel policy that takes in everything that business travel demands such as travel policy compliance and employee engagement can be challenging, it will be interesting to see how all the eggs can be put in one basket, without breaking them, of course!

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