Six top money-saving tips for corporate managers and agents

Issues & Trends – July 2012

Six top money-saving tips for corporate managers and agents

CARLSON Wagonlit has formulated six top tips for corporate travel buyers to achieve greater savings. This follows the release of research undertaken by the CWT Travel Management Institute.

According to the global corporate management giant the research demonstrates that even companies with the most mature managed travel programs can still make further savings of up to 10 per cent or more.

The research, published under the title of “Mastering the Maze: a Practical Guide to Air and Ground Savings”, was carried out from November 2011 to May 2012.

It included in-depth surveys of 116 travel managers in more than 15 countries, CWT diagnostic surveys of 245 clients, detailed surveys of 3044 travellers and quantitative analyses of more than 50 million booking transactions worldwide in 2010 and 2011.

The company also interviewed more than 60 industry experts and produced 12 case studies.
The project identified savings opportunities in 20 areas, ranging from the basics of concentrating volume on preferred suppliers, to new solutions including negotiating fuel surcharges and ancillary fees.

The CWT Travel Management Institute senior consultant in charge of the study, Grégoire Boutin, said the research identified “underexploited” savings opportunities in both air and ground transportation costs.
The six top tips released by CWT comprise:

• Negotiate a reduction or waiver of airline ancillary fees such as baggage fees and on-board food and services. CWT estimates they represent six per cent of companies’ air spend but only 55 per cent of travel managers are tracking how much they spend on this.

• Negotiate with carriers for a refund or back-end discount on fuel surcharges. “These can be awarded at the end of the year based on the amount of business that a company has given to the airline over the year,” says CWT. “Representing a considerable 7-12 per cent of air spend, fuel surcharges appear increasingly disconnected from actual airline costs, rising at twice the rate of oil prices since April 2011.”

• Carry out regular GDS audits to check that negotiated airfares have been loaded correctly. In one case study, six per cent of negotiated airfares had been loaded incorrectly or late, CWT reported, noting: “This means substantial missed savings if travellers are booking incorrect or non-negotiated fares.”

• Monitor booking class availability on top routes per carrier, cabin class and the number of days before departure so that travel managers can ensure that negotiated conditions are actually available.

CWT says half of the surveyed travel managers already successfully use this data to ensure they get the right level of availability for the fares they have negotiated.

“Fare availability is an important but often neglected aspect of program performance. Buyers can monitor availability per carrier, route, cabin and booking window for best results,” the TMC said.

• Encourage and educate travellers on the importance of booking as early as possible. Advance booking still deliver significant savings, especially on international economy fares but 75 per cent of travellers book less than 14 days in advance, according to CWT.

• Pay more attention to savings on car rentals which represent on average seven per cent of the overall travel spend, said CWT – adding that companies that have focused on car rentals have saved 6-24 per cent.


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