It’s worth thinking about what’s going to stand in the way of demand for business trips. Yes, the Covid problem is a huge barrier, but it goes beyond that. I see five related barriers that our industry will have to reckon with. Here’s the short story on my LinkedIn page: https://bit.ly/5_Barriers_to_Business_Travel New connections are welcomed.
The longer, richer read follows. Fair warning – it is a sobering assessment.
1. Virtual Work
The more that work gets done virtually, the more that virtual meetings will eliminate demand for business travel. Pre-Covid, virtual meetings were a known alternative to traveling, but a clear downgrade in terms of interpersonal impact and, frankly for some, status. Many travelers and their managers were quick to decide “It’s better if we do this meeting in person.”
Post-Covid, managers up and down the ranks are forced to use virtual collaboration tools, like ’em or not. Guess what? They work. For a lot of meetings, across a lot of use cases, and for an awful lot of people. Today, managers are building up a comfort level with virtual work, and that means trouble for travel.
If employees don’t have to go to an office to get their work done, why would they need to travel to get their work done?
Wow. This article that challenges the importance of savings is one of the most popular ones I’ve ever written.
Still, the question is can you really afford to focus on the benefits of travel, rather than on the cost?
The good folks at Prime Services and I will show how build a business case for better travel using my Travel Policy Impact model. We’ll walk through the data you need and the assumptions you have to make, and show the ROI as we go.
You’ll see how easy it is to estimate the costs, and how to make reasonable assumptions about the benefits. Travel Policy Impact 101, here we come!
The webinar starts at 1:30 pm EDT on Thursday, March 15th. You can register for your free seat here. I hope you’ll join us.
Prime Services is a division of Prime Numbers Technology. Kate Saab and Robin Carter will co-host this session with me. You can download the Travel Policy Impact model and the User’s Guide from within this post.
The most common question I get after speaking about the benefits of reducing traveler friction is “OK, we get the idea, but how are we supposed to sell this to senior management?”
Here’s the answer:
The whole idea is to balance the costs and the benefits of better business travel, right? So that means we need a way to quantify those things, in a way that makes sense to senior management.
The good news is that there is now enough research out there to help us frame the question with some clear logic and pretty good assumptions.
Gillespie’s Travel Policy Impact Model
I’ve developed a simple – and free – approach that any travel buyer can put to work right away. It’s an Excel model (see below) that asks you to fill in 16 things. Do that, and you’ll see the results. Your results could look like this:
“If we spend an extra $35K per road warrior to give them better quality, lower-friction trips, we’ll get back a net gain of $90K each, for an ROI of about 260%”
Credibility Is Key
Travel managers, you’ll be able to plug 10 of the 16 data things into the Cost section pretty much off the top of your heads. You’ll probably need help with the 6 things in the Benefits section. Continue reading →
Is it time to think about your category goals for 2018? Yep.
Are you hoping to somehow increase the size of your savings next year? Of course. Are you optimistic about meeting that goal? Probably not.
Would you like to show senior management that you’re adding significant strategic value to the travel category? That your approach is fundamentally aligned with the needs of the business? Therein lies my challenge.
For the last 20 years, travel procurement has measured its success by the size of its savings. Travel procurement takes the path of least resistance, happy to measure what’s easiest – ticket prices, room rates, TMC transaction fees, and the all-important discount.
This traditional cost-focused goal is no longer sufficient. It’s not strategic, and it isn’t sustainable. Travel procurement needs a bigger, bolder goal.
Imagine giving management a choice between these two travel programs: “Nickels and Dimes” and “Goldmine”.
In the Nickels and Dimes program, they get travelers who are more burned out, more likely to quit, have less productivity, report higher rates of sickness, are less willing to travel, and for the kicker, produce 22% less effective trips.
In the Goldmine program, they get the opposite – happier, healthier, more productive travelers who are more willing to travel and – pay attention – produce more effective trips.
Of course the Goldmine program is going to be more expensive. Just like an iPhone is more expensive than a cheap flip phone…you get what you pay for.