Before we dive into why Flight Centre Business Travel (FCBT) is the proverbial plumber for you, allow us to briefly outline the job at hand.
What is ‘travel leakage’ and why should you care?
At some point, an organisation may decide to save time and money by outsourcing the logistics of travel for its employees to a travel management company (TMC) such as FCBT, and the resulting arrangement then generally formalised in an internal Travel Policy.
However, in news that will fail to stun budget-conscious managers everywhere, sometimes employees neglect to carefully examine and take heed of such policies, and are instead prone to display well-meaning but ultimately costly initiative - in this case, by booking their own travel and expensing back at a later date. There are various temptations that lead employees to take such action, like the perceived value of low rates, or just personal convenience, but the overall cost to the company of these collective individual actions far outweighs any apparent saving on any one trip.
In our trade, this is known as ‘travel leakage’, and if left unchecked it can end up submerging the core reasons that led you to sign up a TMC in the first place - namely, to save time and reduce stress for your employees, and to save money for your business. The precise problems that occur as a result are numerous, but some of the main ones include:
Why now is the perfect time to fix it
Unless you’ve been living in a cave on Pluto for the last six months, you’ll be aware that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought the world to its knees. The resulting national lockdowns, border closures and major economic uncertainty placed any kind of travel - whether for business or for leisure - somewhere between ridiculously difficult and totally impossible for most of 2020.
We are, however, highly optimistic that rock bottom has been hit, and that the industry’s ascent back to normality has already begun, gradual though it may be. With this in mind, there has never been a more perfect time to fix any existing travel leakage in your company, and to preemptively prevent potential future leakage
TMCS ARE MORE CRITICALLY IMPORTANT THAN EVER FOR BUSINESS TRAVEL
The reasons for trusting a TMC to prevent leakage by handling all travel arrangements for your employees remain as compelling as they’ve ever been, but the new environment in which the world finds itself has made them more critically pertinent than ever before. Some of the key ones can be seen below.
Renewed focus on Duty of Care
With the unbridled chaos of the initial global lockdown in the first half of 2020 still fresh in everyone’s minds, Duty of Care will become a major priority for businesses around the world. It has never been more important for companies to know exactly where their employees are (and their precise schedules) so that the best support possible can be provided in the event of sudden border closures or flight cancellations and such like, and the only way to ensure this is by placing a TMC at the logistical forefront. If employees are taking travel arrangements into their own hands, such support becomes seriously compromised.
Scrutiny on the travel booking process
Clearly business leaders everywhere will be far more cost conscious in the new economic climate and this will result in a desire to reduce things like travel leakage in favour of a more streamlined - not to mention visible - travel booking process.
Streamlined and consistent approval process
With more stringent budgets, many companies are introducing new internal travel approval processes in a bid to reduce unnecessary expense and improve visibility of their spend. Greater governance over travel booking processes can reduce leakage with managers needing to approve bookings, including those outside approved channels. But it can also increase the administration duties. In managing your booking process, a TMC can do the hard yards with your travellers in the planning stages, and ensure only arrangements that fit within the company’s travel and expense policies are submitted for final approval to your managers, saving them precious time.
Safe and clean accommodation
Before the pandemic some businesses were more lax when it came to employees booking their own accommodation using alternative providers, like AirBnB. However, that approach holds far less weight now, as hygiene standards of such lodgings can potentially fall below those of official providers, and this could well clash with updated Duty of Care policies.
Unbeatable customer service
The events of the past few months have shone a light on the importance of excellent customer service - something which FCBT is proud to consistently achieve. TMCs provide a vast range of benefits, with a major one being securing things like refunds and rebookings when necessary, meaning employees don’t have to spend hours trying to do it themselves. With us, help and a solution is only ever a quick email or phone call away.
NEED A HAND MAKING SURE YOUR BUSINESS IS ON TRACK TO TRAVEL AGAIN?
We've put together a simple assessment to gauge the health of your company's business travel programme. So whether you're currently travelling or preparing to hit the road again, book a 20 minute health check with one of our experts to make sure everything is on track for success and safety!