A Better Way to Manage Road Warriors, and Their Costs

You road warriors are a hardy bunch, aren’t you?

You spend over a hundred hours a year on planes, take trips on short notice, cross too many time zones, lose sleep, gain weight, get up way early and come home late, and give up more than your share of weekends.

All while being squeezed by travel policies that leave you shaking your head, wondering if the people who approved these policies really, truly understand how hard it is to be a heavy-duty road warrior.

The Travel Friction Concept

Let’s call all this wear and tear you’re taking on “travel friction“.  You get it, right?  The more trips you take, the tougher those trips are, the more you get burned out by being on the road.

Fun fact: Real road warriors, those in the top 10% of all travelers, absorb Continue reading

A Brighter Way to Measure Travel’s Impact

For the amount of money firms spend on travel, surely they’d like to know the impact. There is an incredibly practical – and pretty easy –  way to answer this question.

Forget about ROI – it’s too theoretical.  Skip Big Data – it’s irrelevant.  Instead, focus on what matters and what’s measurable.

Think about the issue this way: At what point is too much travel counter-productive?

Spend too much time on planes and you’re not selling.  Cross too many time zones and you’re not giving clients such good advice, or making such good decisions on that oil rig. Take too many redeyes in coach and you’re seeing a doctor for a cranky neck or worse, deep vein thrombosis.

It’s about cause and effect; travel and impact. So the approach is simple.

First, identify the road warriors in your firm, and their business unit leaders.  Ask those business unit leaders which business metrics matter, and might be affected by too much travel, and are measurable.  Think sales, hours billed, customer satisfaction, safety, etc.

Go to HR, and ask which HR metrics matter, and might be affected by too much travel, and are measurable.  Think absenteeism, engagement, disability costs, retention, etc.

Now use your travel data to find a comparable group of employees that has done much less travel than your road warrior group.  So now you have a cohort of low-travel employees and a cohort of high-travel employees.

We’re almost there.  With a bit of analytical muscle, measure each cohort’s average result on each metric.  Then compare the two groups, testing for statistical differences. Something like this, perhaps:

Slide2

Voila!  You now have a fact-driven analysis of travel’s impact.  The impact on your business, and the impact on your people. The implications will be clear.

Too much turnover, absenteeism and disability costs among your high-travel group?  Cut back their travel workload and/or loosen your travel policies for the road warriors.

No meaningful differences between the two groups?  Your travel policies are probably fine, but then what is all that extra, possibly excessive, travel really doing for your firm?

Either way, having these facts gives travel managers, HR executives and business leaders a clear-eyed view of travel’s impact.  Making solid business cases for changing travel workloads, travel budgets and travel policies is now ever so much easier.

The best part?  Travel category managers get to lead on this issue.  For you folks that are frustrated by delivering diminishing returns from mature sourcing and policy compliance, you should be first in line to drive this type of study in your organization.

For those interested in jump-starting a travel impact study, tClara and I can help.  We can quickly score your travelers’ Trip Friction™ levels, create the cohorts, and benchmark your firm’s travel intensity to those in our database.

I’ll be at the ACTE Global Conference in Miami at the end of this month, and hope to connect with many of you there.

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Applying Travel Innovation: 7 Case Studies

Looking for real-world examples of how companies are applying new trends and technologies in their travel programs?

Look no farther – Advito, BCD Travel’s consulting arm, describes seven solid case studies in its latest white paper: “Leading the Way: Corporate Travel Management Goes Next-Gen”

You’ll learn what these companies are doing:

  • Coca-Cola – improving policy compliance
  • DuPont – gaining control of meeting spend
  • EADS – integrating end-to-end travel technology
  • Microsoft – increasing the use of virtual travel
  • Salesforce – leveraging social networking
  • Sapient – using Yammer for travel communications
  • U.S. Foodservice – freeing travelers to choose mobile apps

You can download the free white paper here (registration required). NB: I contributed some content to this paper.

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Cutting Taxi Costs and CO2

You’re in a long line outside an airport, waiting for a taxi and wondering how many people in front of you are going to the same place.  Wouldn’t it be great if you could pair up?  Save time, money and reduce carbon emissions – what’s not to like about that idea?

Well, there are a handful of websites that will help you do just that.  The one that first caught my eye is Taxi2 (www.taxi.to).  Your travelers Continue reading

Hotels and CO2: Good Green Metrics

Are you factoring carbon emissions into your travel procurement decisions? It doesn’t yet seem to be a strong trend in the U.S., in part due to the lack of good metrics.  Here’s a company that is taking on the hard work of measuring CO2 emissions for hotel rooms: The Hotel Carbon Index. Continue reading

Sustainable Travel: Case Study

How does sustainable travel relate to travel procurement? Airline emissions of CO2 account for about 3% of global CO2 output.  Not the biggest emitting industry, but a very visible one.  Many companies are taking a closer look at what they – and their suppliers – are doing to reduce carbon emissions.  Travel is a topic that comes quickly to mind.

The question is how can you keep people on the road but have a positive impact on your CO2 reduction goals? Here’s one answer: Continue reading