“Why are our business trips so expensive?” asks the CFO to the travel manager. On the surface it sounds like a straightforward question. Yet to the travel manager, it’s one that demands a two-hour response.
Market fluctuations, seasonality, employee incentives and destination business trips - corporate travel spend is rarely a static figure. And in the volatile travel market, where savings present themselves and disappear in a matter of hours, this figure can swell without an effective management platform to stay on-the-ball.
How Should a Travel Manager Answer This Question?
Using outdated and sluggish software, a frustrated travel manager may respond to the CFO, “Because you’ve cut costs on the technology I need to do my job.”
However, a more productive response would be, “Our travel policy can be improved. Let’s tackle it together, I’ll buy the coffee.”
Strong collaboration between travel managers and CFOs is crucial to making positive changes to corporate travel policy.
Not only does a united front benefit team travel spend, but improves employee safety and overall productivity.
Travel management has evolved into a technical, specialised and demanding profession. CFOs who turn a blind eye to the expertise of their travel managers also turn a blind eye to industry innovations, potential policy game-changers and areas for profitable reform.
Despite this, just 27% of CFOs believe their relationship with travel management to be effective.
How Can CFOs and Travel Managers Collaborate?
For CFOs to truly capitalise on the industry expertise of their travel managers, they need to take a back seat in travel policy discussions. As mentioned above, the corporate travel environment is fluid, and has seen drastic change in even the past three years.
Unless CFOs have a keen extra-curricular fascination with the corporate travel industry, it’s unlikely they’ll possess the same intelligence on the matter.
CFOs must invest trust in their travel managers, and be receptive to the policy changes and technology upgrades they propose.
CFOs, Travel Managers and Travellers: A Profitable Trio
Collaboration between CFOs and travel managers shouldn’t be an exclusive relationship. Employees who are embarking on corporate travel should be engaged by both parties in policy discussions, and given the opportunity to express their recommendations and concerns.
At the end of the day, travelling employees are a corporate travel policy brought to life. Listening to their reports from the front line can uncover immediate areas for policy improvements.
For example, an employee who complains of soreness following a long-haul flight in economy seating shouldn’t be dismissed. Perhaps for long-haul flights, your travel policy should allow for business class seating. Using a powerful travel management platform empowers travel managers to locate savings in other areas of the itinerary, allowing for this added luxury.
Finally, CFOs who adhere to corporate travel policy as closely as they’d like their employees to will set a positive precedent. Encouraging frugal spending and productivity can be as simple as leading by example.
Is your business spending too much on corporate travel? Calculate your potential savings using our Travel Savings Calculator below: