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Travel InTuition - What is the value of a travel management company?

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Managing travel procurement within a university is no easy task.

With so many different travellers on the move, it’s a challenge to strike the balance between cost efficiency and meeting the vast mix of individual travel needs. Yet procurers can achieve this balance – and the answer lies in working with a strategic travel management company (TMC).

Why ad hoc travel breeds higher costs

If your university is currently taking an ad hoc or uncoordinated approach to travel management, it is certain that you will be incurring excessive costs. Planning and booking your travel without the strategic guidance of a travel management company carries both time and cost penalties. The bottom line is unnecessary cost and a multitude of lost opportunities for your university to make travel smarter for everyone. See why.

Method of procurement: Booking through a variety of travel agencies

Disadvantages:

  1. Lack of negotiating power with preferred suppliers, due to lower booking volumes
  2. No single point of reference for all travellers’ profiles, thereby creating inefficiency
  3. Inability to locate travellers in an emergency
  4. No central policy to guide booking processes and cost savings

Method of procurement: Low mandate for policy compliance

Disadvantages:

  1. Lack of control over expense
  2. No ability to track, monitor and lower expense
  3. No limit to the number of suppliers used, thereby eroding negotiating power with them
  4. No consistency in booking processes, forgoing potential cost savings
  5. Inability to locate travellers in an emergency

Method of procurement: Booking direct through supplier websites

Disadvantages:

  1. No access to multi-sourcing fare platforms, preferred supplier agreements, or current brand-specific promotions
  2. Rates/fares can be up to 30% higher than the academic rates sourced by Campus Travel
  3. Booking changes are either not allowed or incur costs
  4. Lost productivity in the time spent trawling the net searching for flights and fares etc
  5. No expert travel and destination knowledge and advice

How TMCs deliver the savings

Effective travel procurement calls for specialist expertise from a TMC. Best practice TMCs such as Campus Travel will helpyou achieve immediate and long-term savings by addressing the following elements of your travel management:

  1. Improving the overall ‘travel culture’ of your university
  2. Negotiating academic rates and fares
  3. Using technology tools to provide reporting and cost control
  4. Reducing time and improving productivity
  5. Making the smart choice with people who offer experience and understanding.

1. Improving your travel culture to negotiate better rates

Managing the travel patterns and behaviour of the many different academic travellers within your university is a juggling act. Your travellers want a choice of suppliers, but choice can come at a higher overall cost. You therefore need to consult with your travellers and agree what is most important to them.

The solution is to identify the airlines, hotels and car hire companies that offer most of your travellers the best blend of comfort, convenience and flexibility. Campus Travel can establish contracts with these ‘preferred’ suppliers and leverage individual savings by negotiating fares and rates based on higher volumes of usage.

A central travel policy that mandates the use of suppliers is the key to lower rates and fares. The stronger your policy, the stronger your negotiating strength with your preferred suppliers.

A policy can also equip your travellers with simple cost-saving strategies such as:

  • advance purchase bookings when possible
  • being ‘class-smart’ and booking cost-effective classes of travel (eg. economy for domestic flights; premium economy where available; and business instead of first class)
  • flexibility of dates.

A policy is only as good as its level of compliance, and if it erodes morale it will be counterproductive. Campus Travel can assist you not only in developing a suitable policy, but guiding you on compliance measures such as educating your travellers and recognising their efforts.

2. Negotiating academic rates and fares

Campus Travel secures academic fares and rates that are available only to your industry. Furthermore, we use multisourcing platforms that search the largest range of domestic and international airfares including negotiated fares, corporate, wholesale, discounted retail and group fares.

Working solely with us enables your travellers to source the lowest logical airfares, also known as Best Fare of the Day (BFOD), every time they make a booking.

In addition to competitive airfares, Campus Travel’s hotel rates in Australia are often the best, and globally we can search an extensive inventory of properties at rates that have been negotiated for your benefit. We can assist your university to further leverage your existing hotel program or accommodation booking processes, so you achieve better savings.

For example:

  • assessing your room night volumes to bolster your rate negotiations
  • looking at the trends in where your academic staff stay to determine whether there are more cost effective alternatives that are just as convenient
  • negotiating on the total cost of your travellers’ accommodation by including value-added services specific to their requirements
  • monitoring your travellers’ compliance to the hotel program by identifying lost opportunities for savings
  • producing year-on-year rate comparisons, including city average reports
  • mandating that all hotel bookings go through Campus Travel, as this enables us to negotiate with the greatest knowledge of volume for the lowest rates.

In addition to air travel and accommodation, Campus Travel can offer competitive car hire rates with all major suppliers.

3. Using technology to provide reporting and cost control

Online booking tools (OBTs) with automated low-fare search functions can give you genuine cost savings. OBTs can capture the Best Fare of the Day, whether you are booking flights, hotels, or car hire. They can also provide approval processes, preferred supplier arrangements and management information reporting, so you can track your travellers’ expenditure and uncover new savings opportunities. Effectively they can give you and your travellers far better control over travel budgets.

4. Reducing time and improving productivity

If your travellers consider the total time they spend searching for flights and hotels, fares/rates and availability - particularly for complex or international bookings – it is likely to be hours rather than just minutes. That time is lost

productivity. Yet a TMC can take as little as five minutes to complete a point-to-point booking, with just an email or phone call from your traveller.

From a procurement perspective, working with Campus Travel saves you additional time by taking care of preferred supplier contracts for you, using our global negotiating strength.

5. Making the smart choice with people who offer experience and understanding

Knowledge of the travel industry, destinations, regulations and supplier trends is invaluable to those in procurement, as it helps keep you on the front foot in price negotiation.

Campus Travel consultants are on top of latest industry developments and any impacts that may be relevant to you. Our job is to keep you informed so you can consistently capture potential savings.

We are also international airfare construction experts, skilled in all aspects of complex international itineraries at the best prices. We share our knowledge of destinations worldwide based on our own travel experiences. Many of our people are university trained, understand the complexities of academic itineraries, and are specifically educated on academic rates and fares.

TMC benefits for travellers

Working with Campus Travel not only creates advantages in the procurement process. The benefits extend to your travelling academics, who have access to:

  • a complete range of booking services – from air, to accommodation, to car rental
  • travel security services, including alerts to keep them informed of any existing or pending crises in areas to which they will be travelling
  • 24/7 emergency assistance, throughout the world
  • last-minute booking changes or cancellations (for individual travellers or groups)
  • specialist services such as VIP travel or executive leisure
  • highly personalised service and advice, recognising the individual traveller’s needs and preferences
  • information on destinations worldwide
  • exclusive supplier membership, giving preferential treatment to Campus Travel bookings – i.e. priority clearance off waitlists.

Campus Travel ensures your people can experience quality service and smart choice, while enjoying travel that is hassle free. We’ll help you find the ‘sweet point’ in academic travel.

Contact

Talk to an academic travel specialist today.