Procurement should boost travel policy compliance

30 September 2011

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2 October 2011 | Adam Leach

Buyers need to drive behaviour in companies to ensure employees stick to travel management policies, American Express has said.

In this way, they can make the most of their buying power with preferred suppliers and help businesses make savings. The advice, published on Thursday (29 September), cites that out-of-policy business travel rose from 26 per cent to 33 per cent in 2010, with 97 per cent of this maverick spend signed off by managers.

American Express said procurement teams should adapt travel management processes to increase employee compliance by notifying employees when they book something that doesn’t conform with policy and flagging up employee itineraries to management.

Hervé Sedky, senior vice-president and general manager, American Express Global Business Travel, said: “The goal is to drive new behaviour within the company. Communication of policy and business goals is key to helping travellers make smart decisions on behalf of the company so that business travel can be used strategically and as a competitive advantage.”

Companies should also ensure they utilise the value of unused plane tickets. The majority of travel contracts allow for unused tickets to go towards future purchases and businesses should ensure they have the facility to track unused tickets and can recoup all or part of the costs.

In addition, travel buyers should check for discrepancies between pre-negotiated hotel rates and standard reservations. American Express claims that nearly 35 per cent of hotel rates loaded into company reservation systems are incorrect and companies should take action.

Last month, a survey by Egencia found that a significant proportion of companies are looking to cut back on travel spending over the next 12 months. Of those travel managers surveyed, 42 per cent were in favour of cutting back on non-essential travel. The most likely cutback, however, is with food, as 46 per cent of those surveyed said they planned to reduce reimbursement of meals.

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