Increasing online adoption and compliance
As we return to travel in 2022, duty of care and compliance have never been more important but the challenge of increasing adoption of your travel program remains. Guest blog by Nick Collingwood, Senior Business Partner
Often, travel management company usage isn’t mandated, for a number of reasons, you may even have multiple suppliers to choose from or even have the option to book anywhere and claim as an expense.
Realistically, a non-mandated travel policy presents several challenges:
- Fragmented visibility of travel spend
- Visibility of your traveler’s whereabouts
- Traveler safety – who do they call in an emergency?
- Reconciliation of multiple invoices
- Inefficiencies and ‘hidden’ cost of all the above
It is our belief at Diversity Travel that consolidating or increasing adoption will help you to manage your duty of care more effectively and increase saving and efficiency opportunities.
Are you in a position to mandate?
Although there may be a desire to mandate the use of your TMC, particularly with the additional complexity due to the Pandemic, very few are able to do so, due to funding and the devolved nature of our clients’ organizations. Either way, engagement and implementing simple process and tools are the key components to driving adoption and meeting your duty of care responsibilities.
The biggest tip I can offer, is to engage with stakeholders within your organization and bring them into the travel process. I recommend creating and having a regular traveler stakeholder meeting, which will help drive your existing program and shape future RFP requirements, ensuring you implement a program that works for all parties and giving you a higher chance of a success. Have a think about who would be relevant members within your organization? This may be finance or purchasing managers from other departments or stakeholders that are impacted by travel such as HR/Health & Safety, Insurance and Finance etc.?
At a buyer or “booker” level, I found having a “Department Champion” or someone who understands strategic objectives, industry idiosyncrasies and technology functionality can be very powerful.
Involve your account manager in stakeholder meetings, introducing as a partnership will validate the relationship and accessibility to stakeholders to drive your initiatives. It will also help them get a deeper understanding of your travel program.
Your relationship with your account manager has never been more important. They should be a trusted advisor, helping you understand the complexities that relate to your travel policy, ensuring you travel safely and sustainably. Work with them to define reporting requirements – what is necessary to report to your organization, but more importantly, what reporting adds value? Set clear contract objectives, use frameworks such as SMART to ensure relevance, delivery, and ease of communicating to stakeholders in your organization.
With regards to potential objectives - are there opportunities to increase efficiencies in your purchase to pay workflow and approval process? Drive savings through online adoption or product negotiation? Or simply target adoption and awareness of your TMC.
Engagement and Marketing
Key to the success of a non-mandated travel program is to win the hearts and minds of your stakeholders and travelers. Onsite or virtual visibility, putting faces to names will support and build relationships with your supplier. Driven by Account Management, but I see additional importance to have an operational representative present too, as they’ll have established relationships with your booker community.
- Engagement sessions should support:
- Contract objectives and value of a TMC
- Understanding of products and services and how to utilize them
- Keep up to date on software and how to get the most out of it i.e. buy more sustainably
- How and where to access information
- Receive feedback to shape travel policy and process
- Duty of care
It’s unlikely you’ll be able to get in front of all stakeholders, especially if you’re a larger organization but it’s worth discussing with your AM around how you can use the TMC’s in-house marketing teams to support objectives and engagement. Here at Diversity, we work collaboratively with our marketing team to support client initiatives via email campaigns, internal systems such as your intranet and publications to support your goals and share contract challenges, successes, and updates.
These tips can be used however large or small your organization to aid the success of your travel program. Of course, every organization is different and as we return to travel in 2022 there’s more importance on ensuring your community are familiar with any process/policy changes and trained/refreshed on new or updated technologies. That’s where we can help, so if you have any queries with regards to implementing or improving a managed travel program, please get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org
This was originally written for LinkedIn