Travel / Meetings / Conferencing / Events
How TMCs support travel buyers in communicating the travel policy
27 Sep 2017 - by Otto de Vries
In a world of communication overload, travel managers are finding it increasingly challenging to get their travel policy heard and understood by travellers within the company.
During a recent ACTE webinar, travel managers reported that they had noticed clear ‘fatigue’ when it comes to e-mail communication. They feel they are over-communicating the travel policy, while travellers mostly still feel unprepared and unaware.
The TMC can play a crucial role in helping travel buyers communicate their travel policy efficiently, thereby assisting companies with cost control as well as duty of care.
One example is the recent change in hotel cancellation policies for some hotel chains like Marriott International and Hilton Worldwide. Corporate travel managers who don’t gear up for these new policies and clearly communicate them to their travellers, could face major penalties, which could run into the millions of rands.
Hotel solution company HRS has cited one client with total annual hotel expenditures of more than $82 million (R1bn) as an example. If all cancellations made by this company within 48 hours of arrival were subject to the newly imposed one-night charge, the budget impact would be $600,000 (R7,8m) a year.
The reality is that business travellers often experience last-minute changes in their travel plans, or forget to cancel bookings because, until now, there were no consequences for no-shows. TMCs can help travel managers avoid hefty hotel penalties, by setting up reminders for business travellers and keeping tabs on existing reservations.
Here’s how a TMC could help travel buyers get the message across.
What’s in it for me? One of the best ways to get the traveller to take notice of the travel policy is to get the message across that there is a clear benefit for the traveller.
TMCs can help design a travel policy that takes into consideration travellers’ preferences. They’ll make sure your travellers’ voices are heard and will integrate their feedback in the policy. This will keep your travellers genuinely engaged.
Email, chat, video, intranet newsletters, info screens… the ways of communicating with travellers are endless. The key, however, is to find the right way of communication for each traveller – there is no blanket approach here.
Some will prefer regular SMS reminders, others would rather receive emails while others still will like a good old-fashioned in-person meeting. Your TMC can advise you on the most successful methods for communicating with travellers.
Your travel consultant will assist in setting up an approval process to make sure the travel policy is enforced. They will be able to alert travellers to non-compliant behaviour immediately, before they even book their travel.
It’s important to continue educating new and existing travellers on the company’s travel policy.
Travel policies tend to change; new employees are hired, and repeat offenders can fall back into their old, non-compliant habits. There will always be a need for ongoing education and review. Turn to your TMC for help with this.
Strategic, committed and approachable, Asata’s ceo, Otto de Vries, has his sights firmly set on developing and maintaining the highest level of expertise and professionalism within the industry. Otto joined Asata as of 1 January 2013, bringing with him 25 years’ experience in the travel industry, 17 of these in senior management roles. A strategic thinker, with experience in managing businesses, start-ups, business transformation and projects, Otto’s vision for Asata is to champion the organisation’s Members as the consumer’s channel of choice when buying travel products and services. Key to this, he says, is his willingness to listen and take on board the views and opinions of others in an effort find the best possible working solutions to our industry needs. Otto is known for his strong commercial acumen, having acquired valuable management experience both locally and abroad. While his experience spans from operations and sales and marketing to contract management and product development, Otto’s strengths undoubtedly lie in his people leadership, strategic planning and implementation and change management skills.