Corporate travel managers seek cost savings, traveller security solutions


Consolidating suppliers for negotiation power, reserving specific hotel rooms for their travellers’ use and making their travellers responsible for determining the necessity of their business trips are among the steps taken by corporate travel managers who are facing pressures of cost-cutting requirements and safe-guarding their travellers during the pandemic.

According to a HRS survey, 58 per cent of polled corporate travel managers had “consolidated suppliers” and were “looking at ways to increase savings”, shared Jenna Schmitt, its senior sourcing consultant.

One TMC is looking at putting travel responsibility into travellers’ hands for them to decide if a trip during the pandemic is absolutely necessary

Eighty-one per cent of buyers also plan to renegotiate 2021 rates and are looking at strategies to streamline the RFP process in the next three to six months.

To negotiate for better RFPs, Schmitt commented buyers would need to understand travel patterns in specific programmes, go at different speeds, or bundle corporate volumes.

Accor’s Elizabeth Georgopolous, director of sales performance, business partners – Pacific, suggested a “hybrid option”, where both static and dynamic rates are used to bring the corporate client “real-time” savings while avoiding the scenario of managing “three contracts in a season”, as was the case during the 2008 global financial crisis.

Tanaz Pochkhanawalla, commercial manager, AMP, a financial services company, revealed plans to issue a tender for the company’s two-year domestic and international hotel programme this year, saying that it was the right thing to do.

However, Pochkhanawalla added that AMP would consider extending its contract for another year if that brought ease of mind to its business travellers during this pandemic.

In running Transurban’s Covid-19 pandemic travel policy, Stephanie Maisano, the road operator company’s global travel and expense lead, said that considerations are being made to “put (travel) responsibility on travellers”, by having them be accountable for the purpose of the assignment and to decide on their own if a trip was necessary.

With ongoing project deadlines and employees flying in and out, Transurban requires hotels “to keep a hotel room” and not release it for sale. This is to relieve a traveller’s anxiety by helping them avoid things being touched by a stranger, she explained.

For now, HRS is helping clients create a more mandated travel programme by analysing travel data and patterns to determine which hotels are working to enhance duty of care standards to restore travel confidence.

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