Two Years to Build a Travel Program – Really?

A few weeks ago I wrote this article for Business Travel News.  It lays out the steps for building a managed travel program over a two-year period.

It assumes that nothing is in place – no corporate card program, no consolidation of travel agencies, no travel policy – nada.  Are there really that many firms out there with such a blank canvas for managing their travel spend?

Oh yes. And the size of travel spend at some of these firms may shock you.  I’d recently spoken to to folks from two firms, each with a guesstimate that they were spending at least $40 million on travel.  With no hope of being sure of their spend, mind you, and big questions about where to start.  In large part, this blueprint article was written for them.

What surprised me were a few comments I got offline about the two year time period.  Two folks said this was way too long, that no travel team worth its salt would need more than a year or so. Really?

I get that there’s a “do it yesterday” expectation across corporate America.  And I’ve seen teams do incredible work under hopelessly unrealistic deadlines.  But how long should a CPO expect to build a greenfield travel program?  One that will cover the major bases and begin delivering real value?  Can it be done, really, in one year?

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1-Day Air Sourcing Workshop, Dec. 14

This is the first-ever one-day workshop devoted to sourcing airlines.  Matthew Patterson and I will lead the session on Dec. 14th in Chicago.  (Sold already? Register here.) The agenda is tailor-made to those folks wanting a deep understanding of these key topics:

  • How airlines price corporate accounts – what really matters
  • Understanding your true leverage – quantifying Buyer Power
  • What’s better than benchmarking – and why? Continue reading