When Charles Darwin University (CDU) appointed Campus Travel to streamline its entire travel management and cut costs, the challenges were vast. Yet with a mandate, internal education, online booking tool and reporting, a cultural and financial turnaround was achieved within just six months.
Prior to appointing Campus Travel, CDU used two preferred travel companies/agencies. As the reporting provided by these companies was often inconsistent with the information provided by their preferred airline, CDU lost significant time and productivity in having to merge all travel data internally.
More importantly, CDU identified that there was substantial leakage as a result of travellers making their own personal choices regarding who would be their travel supplier. However CDU could not identify where the leakage existed, since it could not rely on the data provided.
CDU's key challenges were to:
- stop the leakage, cut unnecessary expense and reduce the overall cost of its travel bookings
- encourage more than 50 travel bookers and travellers to book through just one tool
- convince all staff that the best way to streamline its travel management process and achieve savings was to use just one travel management company.
Campus Travel was appointed to consolidate and benchmark CDU's travel management performance more effectively. Working closely with CDU, Campus Travel developed a comprehensive solution based on four key elements:
1. Introducing a mandate
CDU's Procurement Team engaged the University's senior leaders, including executives and heads of schools, in setting a new and non-negotiable travel mandate.
By attending meetings with these audiences, the Procurement Team was able to secure their support by clearly explaining the benefits of mandating travel and using just one TMC. This process of engagement was critical to the success of education and adoption among travel bookers and travellers, as senior leaders were able to set the example for others.
2. Educating travel bookers and travellers
With executives and leaders on board in the mandating process, Campus Travel focused on ways to educate and influence the key audience of travel bookers and academic travellers who preferred to make their own bookings.
Prior to the commencement of our contract, Campus Travel initially engaged travel bookers with a series of information sessions on our end-to-end travel solution together with training on our online booking tool (OBT).
Campus Travel worked with existing CDU preferred suppliers, Qantas and Toga, for an information and networking event. This forum was specifically designed to increase travel booker engagement and education, and re-connect with the CDU travel community. Both suppliers became trusted external advocates for booking travel via one TMC, which helped legitimise and drive home the benefits of the CDU mandate.
In addition to these events, the Procurement Team ensures new CDU staff are educated on the travel mandate as part of their induction.
3. Using Campus Travel's e3 online booking tool for all domestic bookings
During the implementation process, more than 100 key travel bookers were identified to undertake dedicated OBT training sessions. These sessions were delivered primarily on campus in group classroom based interactive sessions, and also via web conference for regional campuses in the Territory.
4. Delivering smart and accurate reporting
Campus Travel and CDU made the e3 tool mandatory for domestic bookings, to ensure high quality and accuracy of travel reporting. The data now provided meets all of CDU's information needs and enables real-time tracking of any element of its travel spend. This allows the ongoing identification of savings opportunities. Further development of the OBT will enable the booking of key point-to-point international destinations. CDU's aim is to make e3 mandatory for all air, accommodation and car hire bookings to these destinations.
All air bookings also benefit from Campus Travel's provision of credit card enhanced data. This delivers additional detail to the reporting data provided on the card provider's statement, which aids the all-important travel reconciliation process.
The above strategies have helped CDU achieve remarkable results within just six months, including:
- approximately 80% of domestic bookings now being made using the e3 tool
- consolidation of CDU's travel, which has enabled Campus Travel to leverage better rates with suppliers due to increased volumes
- an 8% reduction in CDU's domestic Average Ticket Price from $288 in the year's second quarter (Campus Travel's first quarter with CDU) to $266
- a 20% reduction in CDU's international Average Ticket Price from $1,274 in the year's second quarter to $1,024
- consolidation of CDU's hotel expenditure through preferred suppliers
- the implementation of a new international airline agreement
- a reduction in transaction fees through the implementation of online hotel and car bookings
- additional provision of last minute and regional hotel rates together with existing government and academic preferred agreements, through the introduction of Quickbeds' prepaid online accommodation to the Campus Travel OBT.
- stronger relationships with local suppliers through the educational and networking events.
These results have given CDU highly measurable and bottom line efficiencies, savings and benefits.