Executives responsible for the management of their company’s corporate travel program usually do so from two primary perspectives:
The financial perspective includes ensuring that travel and meeting costs stay within budget and that when employees travel on company business, corporate funds are spent in a responsible manner. Since Travel and Entertainment (T&E) costs are typically one of the three largest controllable expenses for a company, having strong financial controls in place is a must.
A Human Resource (HR) perspective means ensuring that your company does everything possible to keep your travelers safe and secure when they are on the road (a concept known as “Duty of Care” in the travel industry) and that your employees can book travel in an efficient and timely manner. Constant business travel can be exhausting and companies want to take good care of their valuable “road warriors.”
Finding the appropriate balance between these two perspectives can be challenging at times, especially when many of your suppliers (such as hotels) market their services directly to your travelers, seeking to undermine or bypass the controls you have put in place. Fortunately, Covington has tools and services available to help you better manage your travel program from both perspectives:
- Management Reports – Good financial controls begin with good information. After all, it’s very difficult, if not impossible, to manage what you can’t see. Covington provides detailed reports on every travel dollar booked with us by your company so you can identify when your travel policy is not followed. These management reports also identify areas for potential savings and support our negotiations with suppliers on your behalf.
- Preferred Supplier Programs – Covington helps control travel costs by negotiating preferred supplier programs, which often include specially negotiated hotel rates at preferred properties. Often, your travelers benefit from special amenities or services included in those rates. In most cases, those preferred rates aren’t available on a hotel chain’s website, but they are available when booking through Covington.
- Efficient Booking Process – Covington can provide you with a state-of-the-art online booking tool, fully customized to your policy parameters and preferred suppliers, with live help-desk support, as well as access to a team of experienced travel agents to handle full-service bookings. Covington securely stores traveler profile information and preferences to save time and reduce errors.
- Traveler Support – During a crisis or travel disruption, a company can better locate and assist travelers when their bookings have been made through a single source. Covington has invested significant resources so that we can report on any travelers who might potentially be in harm’s way and provide the necessary assistance to bring them home safely.
Of course, the services that Covington provides are limited to those bookings we handle on behalf of your company. That is why we encourage you to consolidate your travel spend and direct your travelers to make ALL travel bookings (Airlines, Rental Cars, and Hotels) through Covington.
If your company needs extra support, services or technology to help you better manage your travel expenditures and support your travelers, then give Covington a call. We’d love to help.
Rob is the Vice President of Business Development at Covington Travel. He has over twenty years of professional expertise in helping organizations optimize their Business Travel Management.
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