Travel managers need a new set of travel and meeting ROIs


The pandemic has fuelled an increased need for employers to provide a fresh set of ROIs to justify travel and meetings in the new normal.

According to speakers at The ROI of Business Travel & Meetings session presented by GBTA at IT&CM Asia, most companies operated remotely in 2020, and barely any travel and meetings were conducted in-person. Regardless, companies outside of the travel industry were able to retain revenues with minimal or no travel.

ROI measurements have to be adjusted for future travel and meeting budgets

Bruce Kopkin, vice president sales & marketing of DVI, pointed out: “Now that we can start travelling again, CFOs are asking why should (travel and meeting) budgets be given back, when (companies) have proven that business could be run without travel.”

As such, companies will need to adjust their ROI measurements. In fact, a GBTA survey in February conducted among CFOs of companies with revenue of over US$250 million in the US and Europe showed 47 per cent said future travel and meeting spend would need to be justified.

“To calculate ROI today, travel managers will need to collect data from within the company, such as from TMCs, CRM, ERP, human resources, and customer satisfaction,” Kopkin elaborated.

Time spent on Zoom meetings also need to be factored in, he pointed out, adding that data of both the essential and discretionary areas need to be considered, such as KPIs, salary and travelling time.

Meanwhile, Sharlene Ketwaroo-Nanoo, category manager, Rogers Communications pointed out that while traditional areas of savings were still valid, factors like employee engagement and competitive advantage were emerging as a measurement of economic ROIs.

“The question is what parts do travel and meetings play a part in the evaluation of ROI for these activities, especially considering that it may be difficult to draw that line between customer retention and revenue contribution for the organisation.”

Citing increased spending – due to the pandemic – that can affect value versus savings, Crystal Toupin, principal manager partnerships, Cvent added that while in the past, room and car-sharing were part of the cost savings, this was no longer applicable.

“This will be an increased expense that we need to factor into our matrix of ROI moving forward,” she said.

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