Breaking Down the Myths of Consolidating your Global Travel Program

July 13, 2021 00:17:48
Breaking Down the Myths of Consolidating your Global Travel Program
Your Window Seat
Breaking Down the Myths of Consolidating your Global Travel Program
/

Show Notes

Planning on consolidating your global travel program? You have much to consider, and it may not be as straightforward as you think. We have broken down the top three myths to help you avoid  the most common misconceptions around global travel consolidation.

Join Alyssa Andersen, TI’s Global Implementation Manager, and Chip Herold, BCD Global Affiliate Partner, to learn from the experts in this episode of Your Window Seat.

View Full Transcript

Episode Transcript

Speaker 0 00:00:04 Hello, and welcome to this episode of your window seat. We at travel Inc. Discuss the topics that you care about most in this ever-changing business travel industry. I'm Tracy Carrillo, your host for today's topic, going global busting the myths on how to approach and consolidate your global travel program. Ah, the utopia of consolidating a travel program, you have executive approval, formal bid is ready to be distributed. You are excited to take on the world. Only the rest was what you expected. We are here today to bust wide open the top three myths that are the basis for most managers, misconceptions around approaching global consolidation. And I am here with the brainpower that lives and breathes this every day to bust these wide open eyes, very own Lisa Anderson, global implementation manager, and our partner from global servicing chip Harold a BCD travel. Welcome. My brand's ready to take on the world. Speaker 1 00:01:06 Yeah. Speaker 0 00:01:08 All right. As we get started, the first thing to truly understand is what is driving your decision to go global Alyssa? What are some of the best practices for making sure you have what you need before you distribute that RFP? Speaker 2 00:01:23 I would say the most important part of starting to look at a global program is getting that regional input and that regional buy-in. You need someone that's going to be your boots on the ground. That's going to know within each country or each region, what their specific processes are, what they need, how they book travel. Now, you know, all those different nuances that you won't know as a global travel manager, without talking to someone that's there. So you could build out this whole travel program or go through this entire RFP. And if you don't have someone to champion your program at the local level, it's never going to work. Speaker 0 00:02:05 Similarly, what are some of those regional nuances? What is important to understand before distributing that RFP? Speaker 1 00:02:13 There's quite a few of them. And again, this is really going to depend upon the scope of the customer and the countries that they're in. So, you know, maybe a couple examples today, you know, might help if you're a company that has business within Asia Pacific, we see nuances in a country like Japan, where the travel is very fragmented. The in between how the domestic travel is done versus international travel is done. Cultural plays a big part of your global program and how the different countries or the different regions are going to react. So all the, more to what Alyssa were thing, you partner with them that should flush out some of those, what we'll call oddities. And we can help customers with that. Right? We do this all the time where we'll have maybe a questionnaire that the travel manager or procurement person can use to kind of help in facilitating and fact gathering that type of information. Speaker 0 00:03:17 I would also think that traveler buying behavior plays a lot into those cultural nuances. What about travel managers that want to put a online booking tool out in every country? Is that realistic chip? What are you thoughts on that? Speaker 1 00:03:31 But yeah, I, you know, the double edged sword, right? Because we see a lot of, um, especially American buyers who are very integrated into, and we'll use concur who have a vision that, that is the tool that needs to be used around the world. And sometimes it is sometimes it's not again, to your point, Tracy is culturally. We oftentimes are in a country where it doesn't make sense. Another thing that we run into in a consideration for your listeners today is, you know, how many folks do I actually have? Because putting in a tool, isn't an investment, it's an investment to get that tool in. It's an investment to train your travelers. It's an investment that you're going to have to take into consideration. So if I have a country where I've had only two or three travelers, does it make sense to spend eight weeks creating an implementation and going through an implementation to put them on online? When it just may be simpler to start out with having them call the actual consultants Speaker 0 00:04:35 And they may be used to doing that and like to do that and want to continue to do that. It doesn't always make commercial sense, let alone cultural sense to implement Speaker 1 00:04:46 That, Speaker 0 00:04:47 Right? So we have the baselines, we have the regional buy-in. We have a general understanding of the traveler buying behavior, and we've outlined the must haves for each country. Chuck let's get to that first myth data consolidation, the proverbial elephant in the room and the number one myth and primary reason, many companies decide to shift to a more managed global program. So before we get into the house, at least to help us understand the primary benefits of consolidating global data. Speaker 2 00:05:18 So it's got a couple of benefits that we really see most often with consolidating in your global data. The first is going to be the most obvious that's leveraging your spend with your suppliers. You know, if you can't show them what you're sending across the globe, they're not going to give you the kind of discounts that you're looking for. So that one's kind of a no-brainer the second is it allows you to identify your traveler behavior. So you can really look at the big picture of your overall program and then have the ability to slice and dice your data in ways that's meaningful to you. You can look at it region by region or country by country, or even go as deep as department by department. There's another big benefit, which is standardizing your reporting. The once you've consolidated your data, you still have the ability to beak, to each country's traveler in a way that they understand, but then you can also roll everything up and just standard terminology for you and your leadership team. For example, in the U S we've got those basic economy, there's, you know, we're all familiar with them, but if you went to the UK and started saying basic economy, they're probably not going to know what you're talking about, but if you say hand baggage only fairs, then suddenly it clicks with them and they understand. So when you consolidate your data, you can keep those regional nuances at the traveler level, but then standardize it all at the global level. Speaker 0 00:06:47 Sounds perfect. And absolutely logical. So where's the myth about validating it? What about the timing? What about the frequency of accessing it? Now let's get into the how and the what chip, help us walk through that. Speaker 1 00:07:01 So, Tracy, I'm glad you asked about that because the myth here is that all data is real time data, which isn't the case. There's really two data sets. There's real time. What we call booked data or reservation data. And there's the data that comes from the accounting system, which is transactional. So the reservation data we use for pre-trip that reservation data is immediately there after the trip is booked, but it's live data and changes the transactional data. And we're really, the myth comes in is that that data is immediate and it is not because when you look at an organization like us with traveling, we've got 109 countries that we can pull data in from, it's going to be the frequency. Some of the larger countries are sending it to us weekly. And some of these smaller, smaller countries around the world may be monthly. So it's not as quick as folks think, and that's the data that gets clean. So that's your biggest myth, but we deliver on two boats, right? We give them both sets of data and we work with them and consult with them based on their need as to what they're looking for from a reporting aspect. But depending upon what they're looking for in a report, we will direct them to the reservation data, or you direct them to the transactional route Speaker 0 00:08:23 To at least this point, if you really looking at it on traveler buying behavior. And if you're looking at it or supplier dead on how you can do global consolidation and savings, it's that transaction data that is really going to give you those answers. And it's that booking data that's going to feed into the duty of care. Is that correct? Speaker 1 00:08:41 That's correct. That's correct. Speaker 0 00:08:43 Perfect. So that leads me into myth. Number two, my TMC manages all aspects of my global duty of care. So we get it. We have the data consolidation, potentially different frequencies based on the travel management and how they're going to use that transactional data for consolidated reporting up to their executive teams. But how does duty of care really fit into this when we have to? And we're responsible for making sure our travelers are safe and secure, how does this data feed into it? At least I helped me get my head around duty of care and how the data supports that. Speaker 2 00:09:19 Sure. So it's mentioned for duty of care. We look at the books, the true live real time data. And I want to take a step back, I guess, and start by saying the duty of care is not just for global programs or just for international travel. You need to have a duty of care plan and program for any size travel program. So if you don't already have something in place, then I suggest you really start thinking about it. What we always recommend is that you partner with a security provider, an international SOS, or a crisis 24, something along those lines, that way your travelers are fully supported with anything that might happen along their trip, whether they need medical assistance, security, safety, or even to be extracted from wherever they are. So it's not just about knowing where your travelers are with that book data, but it's about being able to help them when they need it. And so your TMC us at traveling would partner together with that duty of care provider by passing that booked data directly to them, and then they Genesys as the needs arise. Speaker 1 00:10:33 So we'll let the one thing that occurred to me too, is that all of us as TMC are at least bringing the ability to do traveler tracking for them, which is really the first step in that formulating of a duty of care program. So we're able to bring them exactly the ability so they can see where their travelers are at a moment, Speaker 0 00:10:54 The third myth, I need a single TMC to manage my entire global travel program. Well, this may be very true if you have an incredibly robust travel program that is mature, you have dedicated resources internally that do nothing but oversee your travel program, or you may need more assistance from your TMC. So the decision on which TMC program to move forward with is based on your needs chip, what are your thoughts? Speaker 1 00:11:24 Yeah, absolutely. And you know, Tracy, to that point though, I just want to point out to the listener that even the mega TMCs that exist today are really comprised globally of multiple agencies that live underneath that umbrella. Some are wholly owned, some are joint ventures and some are just partners. Right? So yeah, exactly. Oftentimes I think Tracy, that there are customers that don't want to be lost or are relying on more resources that come from the TMC to help manage their travel, which is what we do very well. We bring one point of contact. So it still has that one TMC approach in managing your global. Speaker 2 00:12:10 Yeah. To further talk about that aspect chip, you know, you ideally want your main point of contact at the TMC to be in the same country as your global travel manager. And that's probably the same country. That's responsible for the majority of your travels thin, which is probably the U S and that's where our partnership between TIAA and BCD really shines. I like to think of it at a very high level, like the airline alliances, you know, we're all so familiar with them and let's just say, you know, the us makes up the most of your spend and you have most of your air spend on Delta. So you've got a point of sale discount with Delta and you work closely with Delta, but as a part of your agreement with Delta, you've also got the benefit of their partners, their Alliance partners like KLM, or all the Taulia that are there when you need to utilize their schedules or pricing that are only available in those specific regions. So they're bringing it back around to a partnership like Tia and BCD. You get that regional expertise as well as that single point of contact for the focus where your most of your spend is. Speaker 0 00:13:23 So it's really about single point of contact, single point a contract with an affiliate partner to service the local regions. Is that what I'm hearing? Yeah, Speaker 2 00:13:31 Exactly. Speaker 0 00:13:33 So along with that myth of a single TMC, what about technology chip note? I think this is a really good one because many companies think that I need the same mobile app in every country. Speaker 1 00:13:43 Yeah. And that is the, probably the other biggest myth that we continually hear or that we will see. You know, what you heard throughout this podcast so far is that there's a lot of nuances, it's that the world of the United States and the world. And so those nuances will come into play and in order for a customer to achieve their full adoption of their travelers, whether, you know, we're using online, offline, et cetera, you want your travelers booking in the program. So in order to achieve that, oftentimes it's good to focus and put in technology that is most resident in that particular country. So believe it or not, I can sit here and tell you today that there isn't a mobile tool that works in every single country that when you're including countries such as China or where you're including countries like Russia, it just doesn't happen. So you're going to have very satisfied travelers being open and listening and having the TMC guide you through what is best technology in your regions of the world. Speaker 0 00:14:51 There's a lot of information to consider when we think about a global program. So let's kind of wrap up some final thoughts here. Elisa, what are your top takeaways from, if you were going to give recommendations and Speaker 2 00:15:02 Best practices to a procurement or travel manager that is really launching into a global travel program for the first time, what would be your top three and shift? I'd love to hear your thoughts after that? Well, I would say, first of all is really do your due diligence. You know, know what your goals are, go to those out, look at areas of opportunity and even areas of achievement, whether it be at the global level or within each region or country, and then take that information to customize a travel program that it's your knee, you know, there is no one size fits all. And that's the beauty of working with your TMC. As chip mentioned, we can help guide you in areas that you may not be as experienced in. And then once you've got your program up and running, keep those relationships going with your local contacts and with your TMC at the global level and the local level, essentially just let everyone and everything work together to make your program as great as possible. Speaker 1 00:16:02 Yeah. And from my perspective, it's very similar. My number one was, you know, listen to your trusted advisor. You know, all of us have been doing this for a very, very long time and we have experienced what works and what doesn't work. So as a customer being open to listening to that advice or listening to ideas, the other thing is that you don't have to eat the elephant all at one time. I think all too often, there's this ambition that, you know, I've got to have this global program and I'm going to bring everybody in. And you know, sometimes that can end up being disastrous if it isn't done in the right way. So, you know, you will get there, we will help you get there. It doesn't have to be something overnight. So maybe we start with one region or you start with the collective group of countries. Speaker 0 00:16:51 Fantastic. This has been some great dialogue and I know we could go on for hours, but for now huge, thanks to both of you chip Herald at Lisa Anderson. Thank you for the opportunity to share your thoughts with our listeners today. And from all of us here at travel incorporated, we hope you've enjoyed the session about local programs. If you'd like to find out more information, go to our website, traveling.com and any of our social channels. We appreciate your attention today. We appreciate you listening, and we always appreciate your business. Thanks. And we appreciate you listening to your windows eight. Thank you for joining us today on this episode of your window seat, to learn more about travel, Inc. You can find us on our [email protected] Inc com or follow us on any of our social channels. We look forward to the next episode and as always at travel Inc, travel safe.

Other Episodes

Episode

May 24, 2021 00:16:34
Episode Cover

Where the Rubber Meets the Road in Rental Car Programs

This episode highlights what has been referred to as the “Rental Car Apocalypse” with dramatically increased car rental rates, reduced vehicle availability and the uncertainty of what to expect as more companies return to business travel. Join host, Tracie Carillo and Guest Speaker, Jay Pope, Global Strategic Sales Director for Enterprise Holdings, as they buckle in…to Your Window Seat. Having trouble loading the audio? Listen here: https://www.travelinc.com/your-window-seat-podcast/ ...

Listen

Episode

November 29, 2021 00:39:30
Episode Cover

Neutral to Net Zero - Understanding what Sustainability Means to your Travel Program

Earlier this month, we hosted the October Georgia Chapter BTA (Business Travel Association) meeting on sustainability. Join us on this episode of Your Window Seat Podcast with guest speaker Helen Hodgkinson, CoFounder of CACTUS; a climate action group for corporate travel, as we discuss sustainability in business travel, and the steps we can be taking as both individuals and corporations toward a more sustainable industry. ...

Listen

Episode

August 30, 2021 00:19:50
Episode Cover

Trends and Technology of Meetings and Incentive Travel

Companies across the globe are reviewing options for motivating their employees and exciting their clients through meeting technology options and in-person events. In this third episode of Your Window Seat Podcast, TI brings together Mary Ellen Hulett, our in-house Group Travel Partners Specialist, along with the CEO of Groupize, to discuss the latest trends in meeting and incentive travel, and to learn about new technologies that bridge the gap of in-person, hybrid and virtual meetings. ...

Listen