Corporate policies and procedures supporting a managed travel program create a means to harness business travel spending, while maximizing travel supplier negotiations. It also increases company accountability by reinforcing duty of care, safety and security, and environmental consciousness.

Integral to business operations

Travel continues to be an essential aspect of business. It allows companies to personally connect with their clients, entice and expand partnerships, deliver services or products, and ultimately enrich the bottom line. In short, business travel drives the economy. Today, companies realize that for continued growth, they must keep their employees mobile while focusing on fiscal and corporate responsibilities.

“Today, companies realize that for continued growth, they must keep their employees mobile while focusing on fiscal and corporate responsibilities.”

Duty of care is something that recent airline incidents and catastrophes have reinforced. It is the company’s responsibility to have policies and procedures in place to protect their travellers; knowing their full itineraries and destinations at all times. This is especially important during times of emergency. Duty of care is a critical component behind any solidly managed travel program.

The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) expects global business travel spending to hit a record high of $1.31 trillion in 2014, a 6.9 percent growth over the previous year. These numbers may be unsurprising to recent business travellers, especially those who have been caught in the lengthy customs and security lines at Toronto Pearson Airport or trying to book a hotel room in downtown Calgary for a Tuesday night, only to be quoted rates of over $500.

Increased need for control

With escalating traveller traffic, there’s an increased need for companies to maintain control over their corporate travel.  Ultimately, this control, known as a ‘policy’, is a benefit to business travellers.  With travel policies, companies are more financially responsible as they negotiate volume-usage discounts with preferred airlines, hotels, car rental companies, and therefore travellers are more likely to receive perks based on these preferred partnerships.   Additionally, mobile technology provides instant communication with their preferred travel management companies, streamlining travel arrangements, itinerary changes, and connectivity to expense reporting tools.

Not all company travellers completely comply with policy. A recent Canadian study from the GBTA Foundation, Out-of-Policy Business Travellers and Their Impact on the Bottom Line, shows that out-of-policy travel decisions are common among Canadian business travellers; 52 percent deviating from their company’s stated policies.

The increased cost caused by Canadian business travellers who go out-of-policy on at least one major travel expense equals 19 percent of total hotel, air/train, and rental car spending. Evaluating current travel status, tracking and enforcing travel policy, and adopting strategies to engage travelling employees is a fiscal responsibility that cannot be ignored.

Keeping up with demand

Travel suppliers have done a fantastic job of attracting the savvy business traveller, adapting products and services to the needs and wants of their target clientele. Ease of access, comfort, efficiency, and social responsibility have all played into the new wave of business travel offerings.

These services pave the way for suppliers to gain market share in a competitive environment, simultaneously supporting corporate client agreements and boosting traveller engagement and loyalty while helping to relieve the stresses of business travel.

There is no question that the business travel industry will continue to grow, and that it is an essential driver to not only the Canadian economy, but to that of the global market.