Elements of a Strong Corporate Travel Program

In order to make the most of your corporate travel budget, it is critical to plan for leveraging your program for all it is worth. Telling travelers to select the lowest logical airfare is just not enough. Here are the elements that should be considered when planning or evaluating your travel program.

1. Travel policy

A well written and disseminated travel policy is the foundation of any good travel program, and I am consistently amazed that so many corporations have such an outdated and poorly conceived travel policy, if they have one at all. It is not difficult to find a well written policy. One can be found online quite easily. All that remains is that it is edited to reflect corporate culture, and disseminated within the company so that everyone understands and agrees to follow it. For this reason, it is a good idea to have everyone sign a copy of the travel policy to ensure that it is read, understood and owned by all company staff. I suggest that everyone in the company signs a copy of the travel policy, whether they travel or not. They may change positions in the company later and be required to travel. A travel policy need not be long or complex. Some of the best travel policies I have ever seen were only a few pages long.

2. Centralized travel internally and externally

Many companies do not centralize their travel program, and they pay a price in terms of a loss of expense reduction opportunities and internal efficiencies. Many companies that do not centralize travel have a fear of requiring travelers to do something they may not want to do, along with the idea that centralizing travel will require hiring a Travel Manager. Both of these may be legitimate concerns but they do not have to be in most cases. By requiring travelers to book centrally, you are not necessarily causing them to lose flexibility. You can centralize travel while still allowing travelers to book on their own, either with a travel agency of your choice, or online through a provider that you have partnered with and have confidence in. By assigning someone with the responsibility of overseeing travel, you are getting a single point of contact both internally and externally for travel issues. If your company spends less than $1 million in air travel, you probably do not need a full time travel manager. In these cases, travel oversight can be given to the finance department, human resources, or even an executive level assistant. Here is a look at the advantages to be gained by centralizing travel.

When you centralize travel with a single agency, you gain in a number of important ways. You will have a single point of contact for problems while travelers are on the road, and you will have one entity to go to for all your travel needs. This eliminates the problem of consolidating a travel report from among several sources. By bringing travel together, you will gain significantly from economies of scale. If you can measure total travel among various divisions or locations, you can get more for your money from travel suppliers. This will allow you to gain more from airline soft dollar programs, which means more free tickets and upgrades, get a higher percentage discount from our preferred airline, and get better negotiated rates from your hotel and car contracts. Your fulfillment costs will decrease as well, as your travel agency will often discount their fees for a higher overall volume of travel.

3. Mix of online booking and personal service

This is an addendum to the previous element, which calls for centralizing travel with one travel agency. This is important, but in doing so, you need not require travelers to use an online booking system, and you need not require travelers to call the agency directly. By offering travelers the option of doing either, you are accomplishing several goals. You will reduce your fulfillment costs, as online booking is cheaper in terms of a service fee. By giving travelers the option, you are giving them a sense of control, thereby increasing morale and standing a better chance of a high adoption rate. Thirdly, you leave open a best practice of using your online booking engine for less complex itineraries, and allowing senior executives, frequent travelers, and complex itineraries to be booked directly with a travel agent that can offer a higher level of service and a better overall travel experience where it is most warranted.

4. Look under every stone

While the bulk of most travel programs revolve around the air budget, there are several other areas one can investigate to find savings opportunities. There are a couple of more obvious areas to look, such as negotiated hotel rates at your favorite hotels, or car rental discounts with a favored supplier. Often your travel agency will already have discounted rates through consortia affiliations and agency car contracts. There are also some less common areas that should be investigated. For example, if ground transportation is a concern, most suppliers will offer discounted rates and a direct billing option. Direct billing arrangements with hotels and car rental agencies are also a great way to increase efficiencies and make the job of the accounting department easier.

5. Leverage hard dollar and soft dollar contracts

Most major airlines today offer hard dollar discounts as well as soft dollar incentives in exchange for company loyalty to their product. If your travel program is over $1 million in air spend, you can secure a discount off of the lowest fares of your carrier of choice in return for a market share commitment. For your secondary carriers, or if your volume is less than the minimum required by the airline, you can enter in to soft dollar programs for free tickets and free upgrades, as well as traveler status enhancements or airport club passes. These programs require little in the way of volume, but they are not well publicized so you may need to hunt for them or ask Baker Travel or your current agency to point you in the right direction.

6. Do not neglect hotel volume

Hotel volume is sometimes overlooked but it should not be. Negotiated rates can be had through your travel agency or directly with the hotel properties of your choice. Individual hotels near corporate locations will negotiate discounted rates for you in exchange for a minimum room/night commitment. By utilizing a travel agency, you are likely to receive discounts of 5% to 50% on thousands of hotels worldwide.

7. Have at least one car rental contract

Rental car contracts are easy to enter into and require little in the way of commitment from the corporation. Choose a partner that has airport locations and a reputation for excellent customer service. You can save 5-10% very easily and can also negotiate frequent renter membership for all your employees. This will make them more efficient and enhance morale. You can also enter in to direct billing agreements at the same time that can make the jobs of your travelers and accounting staff much less stressful.

8. Understand group and meeting contracts

Airlines and hotels will discount your fares and rates when you have groups traveling together or meeting at a single destination from multiple points of origin. These meeting contracts can bring you airfare discounts of 2-10%, and if you have enough travelers on a single airline, you may be able to negotiate for free tickets to be awarded at contract completion. The minimum requirement is usually 10 travelers going to the same place at the same time. Some airlines have higher minimums so be sure to ask before a contract is generated. Hotels will discount their rates in a similar way with a minimum of 10 room nights. These discounts can range from 10% to a much higher discount depending upon occupancy rate and seasonal variances.

9. Use reporting to consistently improve metrics

Well managed travel programs require constant monitoring and financial controls to be properly leveraged. Insist on timely and customized reports that can be designed to bring you the information you need most. By receiving regular reporting on traveler behavior and provider contract performance, you will be in a better position to fulfill contract obligations, achieve cost reduction objectives and see where opportunities for future savings may lie.

10. Use all avenues to enhance traveler comfort and efficiency

Lastly, any well managed travel program will take in to account the comfort and productivity of their travelers. When travelers are comfortable, they can focus on their main priorities that help propel your business forward. If travelers are happy, they perform at a higher level. Ask if your travel agency can upgrade traveler status on a preferred airline. Look in to purchasing blocks of airport club passes so they can be used strategically during long and complex itineraries. There are many ways to reward travelers for the difficult and often grueling chore of travel. These kinds of rewards generate feelings of loyalty and increased productivity and efficiency.

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Here’s Why You Need to Charge Your Electric Vehicle At Home

It is no wonder BMW is at the forefront in making both stylish and functional vehicles that never compromise safety. Charging your electric vehicle with a home charging station has more benefits compared to public charging stations. With BMW’s electric model ranges, you will experience an entirely new driving experience. No feeling is better than gliding silently through urban and rural traffics. All of this is free of fumes and harmful emissions that impact the planet. Going electric with BMW is one of the best things you can do for you.

While BMW iX3 Charging Station is available in many places and shopping malls in Australia, it is a good idea to invest in home BMW charger as it offers a plethora of benefits. In fact, charging your electric car with a home charging station has benefits compared with public charging stations.

Here’s why you need to install BMW home charging station:-

Save money

Instead of buying battery power from a third-party source every time you need to charge your BMW, it is a good idea to pay a flat fee for a residential BMW charging station and have unlimited energy from the same source that keeps your house warm and other electric appliances running. Of course, you would see a spike in electricity bill. But, you’ll save money by saving yourself from frequent trips to the public station and paying for recharging your car. Home charging stations pay for themselves in the long run.

Finding your home charger is affordable too. There are many electric vehicles charging station providers in Australia from whom you can buy and rely on them for support. There are three different types of home chargers, including level 1, level 2, and level 3. Based on the type of charger you buy, the cost will be anywhere between $300 and $2000.

Convenient

On average, it takes anywhere from four to six hours to fully charge your BMW with a level 2 charger. Let’s imagine that you need to drive 50miles to attend a meeting and your EV is running low on battery. If you have to wait the whole night, take your vehicle to the nearby charging station, recharge, and then drive. Wouldn’t that consume your productive hours? The same scenario is much more manageable if you have the home charger installed. All you need to do is, plug the car in and go to sleep. By the time you wake up, you’ll have a fully charged BMW ready for the drive.

Safe

Charging at home is much safer than public charging stations for a range of reasons, including the safety of you and your vehicle. You’ll have to wait for a long time in the public charging stations to charge your EV, and there’s no safety, especially if you are in the middle of high way.

As you see, they’re less expensive, more convenient and completely safe as long as it is installed properly.

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The Financial Benefits of Owning an Electric Vehicle

Although electric vehicles are expensive, the long-term price of owning one is lower than compared to gasoline cars. Yes, trading in your existing diesel or petrol car for the long-term benefits of an electric car is a good idea. Not only are electric vehicles the future of road travel, but the government is considering a decent incentive who upgrade to electric. Both hybrid plug-in and fully electric vehicles can help improve fuel economy, lower fuel costs, and reduce emissions.

However, the cost is typically one of the major considerations for drivers deciding on what kind of vehicle to purchase. In fact, one of the top reasons that people hesitate to switch to an electric vehicle is the relative price compared to gas-powered cars. But, you must understand the fact that owning an electric vehicle offers more monetary benefits than gasoline vehicles. Take a look at some of the financial benefits you’ll reap by owning an electric vehicle:-

EV Owners Are Eligible For Tax Deductions

Yes! Going electric despite the higher upfront cost is considered as an act of being socially responsible. The more drivers switch to an electric vehicle, the less greenhouse gas will be emitted into the atmosphere and reduce its impacts on the environment. This, in turn, brings the global temperature down and contributing to make the world a better place to live in for us and our future generations. For these reasons, electric car owners are eligible for a tax deduction of up to $7,500.

However, the deduction amount varies from one state to another and based on the capacity of the battery used to power the vehicle. On the other hand, there are no tax deductions for gasoline cars, and from a tax perspective, going electric with Nissan is a financially smart option. All you need is electricity and Nissan leaf charging stations to recharge your vehicle.

Low-Cost Maintenance

Gas-powered vehicles consist of lots of complex moving parts and generally require more maintenance than electric vehicles. Petrol and diesel cars need frequent oil and transmission fluid changes, whereas, EVs don’t require it. Fixing gas-powered vehicles can take time and drives up labour costs from the mechanic. On the other hand, EVs come with regenerative brakes. Yes, they use the kinetic energy of the vehicle to decelerate. This, in turn, causes less wear and tear on the brakes, which result in reduced need for brake maintenance as well. Overall, the maintenance cost of EVs is less than petrol and diesel cars.

Costs Less To Power

Petrol and diesel rates are increasing day by day. One of the major benefits of owning an EV is that you don’t have to refuel it. All you need is Nissan leaf charger or Nissan leaf home charger to charge the car. You can charge your Nissan EV anywhere from the comfort of your house, office, or anywhere. It is as simple as that.

EV is the future of the automobile industry. Embrace it and reap the many benefits of being a proud owner of an electric vehicle.

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