Help! We manage business travel in-house – how do I analyse business travel costs?
Finding travel data is not easy for many companies. While some businesses have significant control through a system of approved travel management companies (TMC’s) or booking channels for employees, many smaller companies, have no such policies and operate an ad-hoc system that relies on employees finding the best prices they can. In this case, the data available is likely to be corporate credit card spend and expense claims, and it often requires significant effort to extract the relevant travel figures from those sources. If this sounds familiar, here are some key metrics to consider when analysing your business travel costs.
#1 Total Spend
Your total travel spend includes the cost of flights, train tickets, hotels, hire cars or other transport, travel expenses, conference costs and so on. This gives an overall picture of your corporate travel spend comparisons with previous periods can show you trends and patterns in spending. If year on year increases are seen, is that because more travel is occurring? Is each trip becoming more expensive? As an overview this is essential, but for control you need more detail.When using a TMC your dedicated Account Manager will normally provide you this information as part of their service.
#2 Average Cost of a Trip
By taking the overall travel cost and dividing it by the total number of business trips taken during the time period, you can find the average cost of a business trip. This can be further refined into average hotel, flight, train ticket and spend per trip, allowing you to see if average trip costs are rising. You can assess your average spend against industry averages to see if you are overspending unnecessarily.
#3 Supplier Metrics
By looking at which suppliers you’re spending money with, you can gain an understanding of which airlines, hotels and train operating companies you use the most. By understanding where the money is being spent and with whom, you can begin to look for areas where alternatives would provide comparable services at reduced costs.
#4 Traveller Metrics
Business travel is a requirement for many roles however, it’s important you don’t forget to monitor which employees are travelling and if their needs are being considered. Keeping an eye on who your top travellers are, where they’re going, how they’re travelling and what they’re spending, will help you assess the impact travel is having on their well-being. You could combine these figures with HR data to see if there are any links to regular travellers and high staff turnover rates for example.
Even when the above information is difficult to extract and pull together, it’s worth the effort in the long run. You’ll be able to use this data to spot trends and patterns that may show you your approach to business travel needs attention. It’ll also come in handy if you’re considering using a travel management company for the first time.
If you’re struggling to find the data you need, consider speaking with some travel management companies to see how they can help centralise your spend. You’ll find after working with a travel management company for just a few months; you’ll have a much better insight into your business travel activity, and they will help ensure it’s optimised too.