Are you getting the best value from your business travel company? Yes? How do you know?
Benchmarking shouldn’t just be regarded as a once in a tender exercise. It should be a regular way to assess the effectiveness of your business travel company and ensure that you’re getting the absolute best out of them – getting that elusive bang for your buck. Having a good handle on the market and what else is out there can prove invaluable when working with your business travel company.
So if you’re wondering if you are getting the most from your business travel company, follow our top 5 benchmarking tips:
Every benchmarking exercise should start with a clear set of objectives. These will differ from business to business, from year to year and will give you a clear focus for what is important to you when assessing your business travel company.
So what is important to you and your business? It could be a whole range of things from increasing online adoption or saving money, down to more specific activities like streamlining billings and costs or creating a bespoke hotel programme. Whatever it is, have these objectives at the forefront of your mind and let them guide your benchmarking exercise. You need to ensure that whoever you ultimately end up working with is able to help you achieve these objectives.
Linking back to clear objectives, understanding what is of value to you will help to inform the areas you need to benchmark against. Is a user-centric online booking tool valuable to your travellers? Or do they have more complex itineraries which would benefit from a team of experts on the phone?
Understanding what you and your travellers value will help you get more out of the relationship and choose a business travel partner who can deliver what you perceive to be true value, not just a standard package of fees and tools.
Good Management Information doesn’t just tell you what’s happened in the past, it can help you look to the future. Delving into business traveller sentiment, understanding the true cost of your business travel, analyzing the effectiveness of your travel bookers – all this insight can help you focus on areas for benchmarking, making the exercise much more tailored to your business needs.
But the data alone isn’t enough. When looking into behaviours and the data behind your procuring habits, working with an account manager who brings it to life and makes proactive recommendations is essential. Ask your team to work the data and deliver you actionable insights, not just an excel spreadsheet of unintelligible figures.
When benchmarking its easy to become focused on fees. This is a clear, objective metric for comparison, one which can feed directly into your objectives and be accurately measured. However, there is so much more to your relationship with a business travel company than fees. What can they offer in terms of MI? What is there technology offering? Can they support your travellers 24/7? Is Account Management included as standard? Can they offer VAT reclaim?
Yes, these areas are more subjective than a direct fee comparison, but they will give you a much better feel for the value your business travel partner can bring and whether that company is fully aligned to your company strategy and culture.
Remember that fees are only a small part of service, the tip of the iceberg. Rather than focusing on the 3% of fees, look at the 97% of travel spend and work with a business travel company who can help to reduce this, giving you a much bigger win.
We’re here to get you from A to B, but how we do that will differ greatly from company to company. That doesn’t just mean different online booking tools or data reporting, it means the ethos and culture of the business travel company.
Ideally your business travel company should be a strategic partner. They should work with you to achieve your objectives (yes, objectives again – see they are so important!), understand your business and add value to your team. To do this most effectively, you need to get on. You need to like the people you’re working with and know that they share the same values as you do. This is often overlooked in the search for lower fees, better rates, more tech – but when you’re building a real partnership, the choice of partner goes way beyond the standard metrics.
We believe that knowing the true value of your business travel company is vital to a good working relationship. We can provide you with answers to any of your benchmarking questions, and we’ll even help you to write them if you get stuck! If you’d like to know more about how we can help, then simply email our sales team on firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll work with you to make sure you’re getting that elusive bang for your buck.