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Corporate travel management: 5 costly business travel myths demystified

20th November 2013

The world of corporate travel management is plastered with many stereotypes, conventional wisdoms and so-called myths. But one thing we know is that corporate travel is a necessity. Plus, almost everyone has advice on what is the cheapest, safest and most convenient way to travel. Here are 5 myths about corporate travel which can be costly for businesses.

1. The internet makes corporate travel management companies dispensable

Corporate-Travel-Management-Company vs DIYTravel aggregator websites like Travelocity, Expedia, hotels.com, HRS or Orbitz, provide the same information as corporate travel management companies, but at the lowest prices on air travel, hotels and package deals. So why your business should use a corporate travel management company and accept the added fees?

Although, aggregator websites offer greater discounts for your first visit, you can trust they will charge higher prices each time you book next. Corporate travel management companies (TMCs) usually have more purchasing power than individuals searching the web for the best deal, as they demonstrate a much higher travel spend. This enables them to negotiate better rates and ask for special deals. TMCs usually find prices lower than those available on the web and fees do not come out of your business travel budget, they are actually paid out of the vendors’ pocket.

Business travel agents tip: If you’re not using one yet, consider to develop a relationship with a corporate travel management company who can handle your business travel. Ask your business travel agent to provide two web-researched itineraries in addition to the one they’ve generated. This makes sure you’re getting the best deal corporate travel management service provider.

2. Video conferencing is always cheaper than face-to-face meetings

corporate-travel-management-Flightline-TravelVideo conferencing certainly has its advantages; it is a great tool to increase productivity, to catch up on projects, to brainstorm and exchange ideas or knowledge in a quick way. Plus, there is no need to spend time and money for travelling. However, studies conducted by Oxford Economics USA (2009) and Forbes Insights (2009) have shown that investing in meetings yields direct returns in the form of corporate revenue and that executives often prefer in-person meetings. Developing sustainable business relationships is extremely important in the business world. By having too many virtual meetings you run the risk of preventing the interaction and personal contact that allows the development of these fruitful relationships. In addition, we all know how easily you can get distracted by emails, which makes it difficult to stay fully engaged throughout a virtual meeting.

Business travel agents tip: Make sure you have the right balance and don’t overdo it. Video conferencing is a valuable supplement to corporate travel, but let’s be honest it is never as effective and personal as face-to-face meeting for building trust, renew motivation or spark collaboration. A heavy reliance of remote communication tools can cost you more in the long-run, for example in terms of productivity and sustainable business relationships.

3. Loyalty programmes reduce travel expenditure

Corporate-Travel-Management-Frequent-Flyer-Programme

The loyalty and frequent-flyer programmes can help your business to save travel expenses in the long-term. By collecting air miles you may benefit form a free ticket at some point or another. However, the majority of the points you can collect via corporate loyalty programmes does not necessarily provide you with the savings you can achieve by shopping around for every business trip—especially since most loyalty rewards are linked to “free upgrades” to a price you wouldn’t have even considered paying for.

Business travel agents tip: Shop around for your air fare and hotel rate for every business trip, unless you have a special relationship with a vendor.

4. The stricter the travel policy, the less T&E violations occur

corporate-travel-management - Travel Policy and social media

Clear travel policies and compliance guidelines are important, but they aren’t a standalone solution. The worldwide web and especially social media, has changed our social behaviours, attitudes and the way we communicate—this cultural shift is also reflected in the way we plan and book corporate travel. Easy access to travel fares, hotel rates, multiple third-party reservation platforms, and mobile travel tools make business travellers more empowered than ever before. With more empowered and savvy business travellers comes a question: How can you reclaim the percentage of your T&E spend that occurs out of policy?

Business travel agents tip: By acknowledging these cultural shifts and encouraging an open, honest dialogue with your business travellers helps avoid many of the rogue bookings or travel policy violations that affect corporate travel programmes.

5. You have to rent a car for each business trip

Corporate-Travel-Management_CarRental

In business, time is money. Having access to a rental car during your business trip can save you time and money although they’re an expense. However, according to the 2013 report by the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) more than half of all business travellers opt to book a hotel within walkable distance to the venue they are visiting or book a facility with a direct public ground transport connection to get there.

Business travel agents tip: Create a schedule for each business trip that considers time for travelling by bus, tube or hotel shuttle instead of driving to various destinations. Only rent a car if there’s not enough time to go with the less-expensive options. If you stay longer, consider weekly or monthly public transit passes for the city you are staying. These often are a cost-effective alternative after only eight to 10 trips.

Flightline Travel provides modern corporate travel management solutions & advice

As a leading UK business travel agency, we have provided corporate travel management solutions to SMEs and international corporations. Discover how our business travel services and technology solutions can help you simplify business processes and get the most from your corporate travel management programme. Call Flightline Travel Management on 0844 332 0174 or complete our enquiry form. Alternatively, email us at [email protected]ravel.co.uk.

Which corporate travel management myths have you come accross? Share your thoughts with us on Twitter.

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