With COVID-19 impacting many companies' bottom line, travel managers are searching for innovative ways to reduce spend without sacrificing corporate travel program necessities.
To introduce flexibility and reap additional savings, more travel managers are adopting a hybrid program model that allows travelers to book via either the preferred TMC or directly with suppliers. Permitting these supplier-direct bookings allows organizations to capitalize on promotions and savings that are offered outside of the traditional TMC and negotiated supplier contracts. Supplier-direct bookings also avoid the TMC transaction and support fees, which can be unnecessarily costly for simple trips (e.g., basic round-trip flight and a night or two in a hotel).
Regardless of the path you’re exploring, pre-trip itinerary reports from Traxo can provide you with insight into your travelers’ forecasted spend before travel occurs, so you can course-correct non-compliant purchases -- for example, changing that 4-star hotel to a more budget-friendly property.
Pulling Back the Curtains on Data
Data is a powerful business tool managers use to inform strategic business and spend management decisions, including budgetary cuts. Travel program blindspots – also known as leakage – make thorough analysis impossible. Traxo’s ability to capture pre-trip, off-channel booking data uncovers spend that has historically only been captured through expense reports after trips occur. Without pre-trip data visibility, that hidden spend is unmanageable and unaddressable.
You can impose strict warnings, policy violation notices, and re-education after trips happen, but at this stage, you’ve already forfeited your opportunity to course-correct spend decisions. And as we’ve seen, this post-trip “stick” hasn’t had any meaningful impact on improving compliance or recouping cost savings -- leakage is as bad as it has always been.
The Three Savings Opportunities Traditional Travel Programs Miss
In a traditionally managed travel program, spend is captured through a preferred TMC, credit card program, and expense report data, which results in a time-consuming monthly endeavor to consolidate and analyze incomplete data sets. In 2019 alone, travel managers experienced around 31% in leakage on air, hotel and car spend according to DVI.
Implementing a business travel data capture tool like Traxo allows you to capture all pre-trip itinerary data, eliminating the guesswork commonly applied to supplier negotiations, spend management decisions, and risk management.
Real-time data capture enables full visibility on program leakage (off-channel bookings), which have previously been tolerated by travel managers as an unavoidable headache.
Let us explore some potential areas of savings opportunities powered by comprehensive travel data:
- Reduced Transaction Fees:
For many travel managers, real-time travel data allows them to add flexibility to their travel programs while saving money. By permitting supplier-direct booking, companies reduce the number of TMC transaction and support fees they pay. Depending on the contract, fees account for an average of 5% overall travel spend each year.
With Traxo in place, travel managers can compare TMC and non-TMC rates, and make educated decisions on which OTA and supplier-direct bookings to allow. Shifting even a fraction of your program to supplier-direct bookings can generate significant savings through reduced transaction fees alone.
Allowing greater booking flexibility doesn’t mean sacrificing duty of care or TMC support either. The data Traxo collects can be pushed to all types of travel management partners, which means TMCs can still provide their highly-valuable services. Many of today’s most innovative TMCs, like our partners at Fox World Travel, Advantage / WIN, and Amex GBT, already integrate non-TMC bookings into their services.
- Better Rates with Supplier-Direct and OTA Bookings:
Direct marketing efforts from suppliers will continue to play a role with influencing your travelers – enticing them with lower prices, loyalty points and other perks when booking direct. Travelers frequently forfeit saving opportunities, upgrades, points, and possible loyalty status when they reserve through an appointed TMC, whose rates may not always provide those additional benefits to the traveler.
Allowing travelers freedom of choice will subsequently provide your program with increased savings and improved traveler satisfaction. The lower rates and additional benefits provided by suppliers and OTAs capture your traveler’s attention, and they should capture yours as well. In most cases, hybrid programs with Traxo in place benefit from lower supplier-direct and OTA prices without sacrificing the essential itinerary data needed to keep travelers safe and manage spend.
- Price Assurance Tools:
Price monitoring tools have existed in the marketplace for years. These tools assist travel managers in reducing program spend by monitoring itineraries for price drops from the time of booking, leading up to the date of travel. Historically, price assurance tools monitored itineraries booked through a designated platform, such as your TMC. TMC’s today are often partnered with a price assurance tool to offer rate re-shopping to their clients.
For the first time ever, travel managers have an opportunity to apply their re-shop services to supplier-direct bookings, too. With Traxo’s ability to capture pre-trip itinerary data, in real-time, itineraries can be monitored for rate discrepancies or price-drops through Traxo’s re-shopping partners, including Smart Hotel Rate, Coupa, and Tripbam.
The existing rationale for only capturing data from approved channels should no longer hinder your program’s success. With Traxo’s capabilities you can capture data and manage your program better than ever before by:
- Eliminating the management headaches from program leakage altogether.
- Achieving complete data visibility and accessing a real-time overview of your travelers’ whereabouts – eliminating any guesswork when a crisis occurs.
- Effectively negotiating with existing and new industry suppliers with accurate and comprehensive spend data.
- Re-shopping all business travel bookings – not just TMC transactions – through your preferred price assurance partner.
Modern travel programs are those that embrace both TMC and non-TMC bookings. Are you ready to access complete data visibility, manage previously unknown off-channel spend, identify new savings opportunities and correct non-compliant bookings before trips occur? Contact Traxo today.