82 percent of travel buyers believe they successfully communicate their company’s travel policy, according to a new survey, Valuable Vendor Contract Add-ons: Prioritizing + Communicating = Saving. The survey, which was sponsored by Amadeus, found that travel buyers by and large feel they effectively communicate company travel policies regarding approved vendors and booking channels for their travelers.
The most common method travel buyers use to communicate travel policy is by updating the company handbook every year – with 62 percent of respondents saying they do so. About half as many travel buyers also meet with their travelers once a year – 34 percent – or send quarterly emails to their travelers – 32 percent – to communicate company policy and any changes that may have been made.
Another 34 percent of travel buyers claim to effectively communicate their company’s travel policy even though they report never holding in-person meetings with their travelers.
Regardless of how travel buyers communicate their company’s travel policies and preferred vendors, their confidence in how they are conveying such information is well founded. Travelers book air travel through approved channels on average 92 percent of the time and 83 percent book with preferred airlines. Ground transportation also has a high compliance rate, with 82 percent using approved channels and 84 percent using approved suppliers. Hotel booking has the lowest compliance rate, but still remains high. 71 percent use approved channels and 72 percent use approved suppliers.
Although very few companies track whether or not travelers pay for add-ons or services the travel buyer was able to negotiate into a service contract, travel buyers by and large feel travelers are not incorrectly paying for included add-ons or services – with only one out of every five hotel stays including an erroneous charge and even fewer with ground transportation and airlines. Still, collecting data around compliance rates presents a huge opportunity for companies to identify areas where communication efforts can be improved and money can be saved.
Travel buyers work hard to get the best deals and rates for their travelers. Negotiating a contract can take anywhere from five hours for a hotel chain contract to 16 hours for an airline contract and can cost, on average, anywhere from $260 – $850.* All the effort that goes into getting the best deals and add-ons for travelers must be effectively communicated so that both the company and the individual reap the benefits the effective travel manager was able to secure.
*This statistic was derived using a figure from GBTA’s annual Compensation and Benefits survey showing the average Travel Manager earned $110,000 in 2015.