Cost vs. responsibility in travel management

Very few travel buyers or procurement specialists consider themselves to be ‘Risk Managers’. However, in the increasingly dangerous world of travel spend, this is exactly what they must become.

“Since commission cutting in 2005, the focus of the corporate travel buyer has been to drive down expenditure associated with travel. This, in turn, caused a significant impact on the bottom-line of travel budgets, especially where transaction, service and management fees were concerned.

Cutting the cost of travel without careful consideration, just for the sake of reducing spend, is a dangerous game. Focusing on the fees that travel agents charge is only one component of a complex web of costs that all add up”, Felicity Meyer, Founder and Board Member of the Institute of Travel Management Southern Africa (ITMSA), told SmartProcurement.

So what can the corporate travel buyer do to prevent these developments from impacting on their budgets, whilst at the same time balancing their budgets with a heighted awareness of duty of care?

“Your organisation needs to understand the travel commodity intimately. Each travel request, along with its driver (is the travelling essential – a need – or is it a want), must be understood. ‘Duty of care’ means balancing your travel budget with your organisation’s travel needs in the best possible way. You can change your travel policy by, for example, hiring a smaller car or by moving all your Business Class travel to Economy Class. The savings will be significant and instantaneous”, Meyer concluded.

Ultimately a travel policy needs to consider not only the cost of travel, but also the well being and safety of the business traveller.

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