Engaging travellers was key to rolling out a new global travel plan at ratings agency Standard & Poor’s (S&P).
Adam Baird, senior procurement manager for Europe, the Middle East and Africa at S&P, said making sure local offices built relationships with the in-country representatives of the firm’s new TMC was a key part of rolling out the global policy.
S&P has recently adopted its first global travel policy. Baird said the decision to adopt a global policy came from an RFP he launched last year that led to them partnering with Egencia. Their policy now encompasses 36 countries.
Speaking at the Business Travel Show in London this week, Baird said: “Engagement is absolutely the key. Making sure the local offices and local staff build a relationship with the TMC representatives in their countries, they can through things in a local language, that really helps to break down some of the barriers – they don’t want to see that it’s driven from a larger office.”
S&P’s RFP process started in the first few months of 2017, and the firm signed with the TMC Egencia in September. Baird said upfront due diligence was essential in any RFP process, “making sure you’re talking to the right stakeholders, right from senior management down to the bookers, the people using it day in, day out”. When starting the process of looking for a new TMC, “speaking to them is the best thing,” he added. “You can get an idea just from a conversation, talk about your company, talk about your culture and see if they fit.”
Making sure you “plan a sensible timeframe” for implementation is vital, said Baird, “to make sure you factor in the times where things go wrong”. Implementation also means engaging with other business teams including HR and IT. Engaging with your new TMC is also important, said Baird. “Because they do a lot more implementation, hopefully, than you’ll ever do.”
Consolidating travel in the company into a single global travel plan has helped procurement by providing better data, said Baird, “so we can demonstrate what the value of what we do as travel managers and procurement managers is. We need to demonstrate to senior leadership that it’s not a cumbersome thing, corporate travel.”
The data has also helped Baird push through behavioural changes in the organisation. “There are genuine savings opportunities here,” he said, but getting discounts off individual flights “will only get you so far. It’s the behavioural change that will really lead to that. Being able to have data to engage with people at that level is absolutely the key.”
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