Business Travel Solutions

The Benefits of Managed Travel

Save Time and Money...

The most important step in managing travel is requiring all reservations be made through one travel agency or travel management company (TMC). This is not always popular with employees. Many have frequent flyer or other loyalty programs. They like the flexibility, comfort, and points involved with choosing their favorite airlines, hotels and even car rental companies.

Despite some initial opposition, there are a number of compelling reasons for small and mid-sized businesses to start a managed travel program.

Cost avoidance. The biggest driver for businesses to start consolidating and managing travel is the bottom line. By ensuring that the lowest fares and rates are found -- and booked -- businesses can reign in travel costs. "We call it 'cost avoidance'," says Kevin Maguire, NBTA Chairman and the travel manager for the University of Texas athletics program. "Even badly designed managed travel programs can save 10-12 percent of travel costs and good programs can save 50 percent or more."

Management controls. Many managed travel programs automate the travel process from the point of reservation to the paying of expenses. This allows managers to receive travel spending data on a timely basis so they can track who is going where -- and whether they declined a cheaper airfare to avoid a three-hour layover in Detroit. Many automated systems allow managers to approve trips before they're booked, so costs are assessed before it's too late. In addition, for larger companies, these types of financial controls meet the level of scrutiny required corporate governance and responsibility.

Security and safety. These days, natural disasters -- from Hurricane Katrina to the Icelandic volcanic ash -- can impact travel. Businesses have heightened their need to know where employees are at any given time, and specifically to help manage risks in the midst of a potential crisis. By having one go-to travel agency, it's easier for organizations to track down their traveling employees, Wilkinson says.

Preferred partnerships and rates. By routing all reservations through a centralized agency or TMC, businesses -- even small ones -- are better able to get a complete picture of their travel spending. This helps them negotiate preferred partnerships with airlines, hotels, and other travel companies. These partnerships can often lead to better rates. But you need to have good data in order to negotiate these terms. "If you go to an airline or hotel and say I want the best rate you will give me," Maguire says, "the supplier is going to come back and say, 'How many days did you spend with us last year?'

A UNIGLOBE Managed Travel Program brings consistent application of travel policy, cost savings, great account management, consolidated travel data, online booking tools, and most importantly—happy travellers!

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