The Real Question Behind Travel ROI

Charles Petruccelli, President of Global Travel Services at American Express, sees great value in helping companies find their industry-optimized level of travel spend.

Where American Express leads, the travel industry often follows.  So the quest for finding travel ROI isn’t going away.

But is it the right question to answer?  If it isn’t, then what is?  Here’s my take:

I think American Express and other industry leaders should absolutely want to help companies optimize their travel spend.

As Herve’ Sedky, SVP and GM, Global Business Partnerships at American Express Business Travel, said at the Masters Program last week, “Travel is like cholesterol.  There’s good travel and bad travel.  We want more of the good and less of the bad.” Continue reading

Blogging from the Masters Program

Today and tomorrow I’ll give you my take on the topics covered here at the Masters Program in Washington, D.C.  This is a small invitation-only event that gets attended by a fairly senior crowd in the business travel industry.

If you’d like to tee up a question on any of the topics, please leave a comment here at the bottom of this post.  I’ll do my best to bring it up, either here at the event or afterwards with the relevant speaker.

The full agenda is here; the key topics include: Continue reading

Travel Benchmarking Done Well

Benchmarking is one of the most popular requests from travel managers – and one of the most difficult services to provide.  I’ve argued strongly that price benchmarking is wrong and worthless.  Not changing my tune on that one.

Performance benchmarking, however, has a big part to play in any up-and-coming travel program.  The problem Continue reading

Airlines and Hotels: Two Sides of the Same Coin?

When it comes to buying airlines and hotels, there are some big differences.

That may not be the case in the near future.  I think we’re beginning to see a shift – the beginning of a shift – away from the hotel model of pricing and contracting.

Let’s look first at some key differences:

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Continue reading

Travel Needs More Innovation

Two observations really drove this point home for me last week.  The first came from Marc Hochman, a partner at A.T. Kearney with deep expertise in the procurement arena.

Marc cited Kearney’s Assessment of Excellence in Procurement study of nearly 300 global firms (average US$10 Billion, revenues). It showed that CEOs have much higher expectations of getting innovation and growth projects  from procurement than they are getting today.

It also showed that nearly 80% of the  study’s leading companies are Continue reading

ROI on Travel and Meetings – Why Bother?

Have you noticed a surge of interest in measuring ROI on travel and meeting (T&M) spend?  I’ll get right to the point.  Trying to measure the return on travel or meeting spend is not worth the effort.

It’s like taking a long walk in the desert with a crappy map.  You wouldn’t do it by choice.

I get why suppliers, lobbyists and trade associations want to link spending with a positive economic return, especially in these harsh financial times.  I get why buyers would like some way to measure the ROI of their travel budgets.  And I like numbers  and metrics and quantifying stuff more than most people…so why don’t I like this quest to measure travel ROI?

It’s Impractical Continue reading