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Best Practices for Structuring a Managed Travel Program

Structuring a Managed Travel ProgramThe concept of a managed travel program is not entirely new to the business world, but its application for small and mid-sized businesses is relatively new. There are a number of reasons a company could choose to create a managed travel program, but most often they are looking for increased control over travel expenses and better insight into how their travel money is being spent. Managed travel programs streamline the travel process by providing employees with simple choices and automated tracking.

Choose a Booking Agency

One of the biggest problems corporations face is lack of control over the booking process for travel. When employees are left to their own devices to book their travel, there is no way to ensure that they are choosing the most cost effective travel arrangements or following company travel safety procedures. When you select a dedicated booking agency for all of your travel, you can also outline what is and is not allowed in your company policy. The next time someone needs to book travel for work, they will be directed to work with the agency and choose from options that already meet your criteria.

Use Company Credit Cards

Employees who travel frequently will tell you that the biggest hassle they face is keeping up with receipts for reimbursement. This problem can be resolved almost entirely by using company credit cards that include automated spending reports. This way the employee doesn’t have to worry about submitting paper receipts, and you can see the money that is being spent during the trip, not just after.

Apply Your Policy Equally

The best way to ensure that your managed travel program actually saves you money is to apply it equally at all levels. Even your upper management team should be taking advantage of the cost savings and conveniences of the program for best results. Many people may ask for exemption from the program because they prefer to use their own card to earn points or miles for personal travel later on, but this takes away your ability to control their spending on travel arrangements. Instead, insist on compliance with the program at all times.

Form Partnerships

Once your team is onboard with the managed travel program, it is easy to form partnerships with hotel chains, airlines and other travel service providers such as ground transportation companies. Since you can guarantee a certain volume of travel each year, they may be willing to give you a discount rate for all travel booked through your managed program. This is beneficial for you and your employees, allowing you to make nicer accommodations with less expense.

The best way to create your managed travel program is to start by contacting a local travel management agency and discussing your needs. They can help you formulate a plan to save 10-40% on travel expenses simply by reducing unnecessary options and directing employees toward the optimal travel arrangements. Then you can turn your focus to managing expense reports and tracking spending on corporate cards. The sooner you make the move to a managed travel program, and the faster you get all of your employees participating, the sooner you will start to see savings.

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