SME Corporate Travel Toolkit
Your Travel Matters
Here’s our ultimate SME Corporate Travel Toolkit series for improving your business travel
Each month we’ll release a new chapter, covering off topics such as: the dangers of DIY-travel, how to craft a perfect travel policy, where to find savings without compromising traveller safety.... and so much more!
It’s time to talk corporate travel. It’s the way your company gets it done. Travel offers growth, team bonding, creativity, solid relationships, and plenty more.
It’s the start-ups and small to mid-sized companies that are powering travel’s recovery from the pandemic; jumping on planes and trains more often than the corporate giants. What does that tell us? That travel is integral to getting the job done and building successful businesses.
Over time, many small and medium sized businesses find that corporate travel is getting a bit…out of control. You’ve seen it yourself. The team expands quickly and soon they’re travelling frequently to all corners of the world. It becomes hard to keep track of; not just where people are on a given week, but also how much it’s costing. Some of the processes can be clunky and your people are spending too much time trying to book it themselves.
Then throw safety, health, wellbeing, and the environment into the mix. Oh, and border closures, testing requirements and ever-changing travel rules. Silently but earnestly, travel has gotten more complex.
Your next move? Just keep reading. This is an evolving series with a new chapter released every month. We built this series to provide you a comprehensive view of how to build a great corporate travel programme. The most important thing is that you don’t have to do this on your own.
Time for a corporate travel partner?
A managed business travel programme is more than just someone who books your travel. It’s about turning something complex into something easy to navigate.
Here is a quick checklist to pressure-test your current situation. Does your current solution:
- Keep your people safe and support them in any situation, 24/7?
- Make booking travel easy and quick?
- Help you spend wisely and saves you money?
- Allow you to pull any travel data and reporting with the click of a button?
- Advise on what to do about caring for your people and the planet?
Your travel solution should check all of these boxes.
Hey Tom, tell everyone why we created this toolkit for SMEs
Tom Walley is Corporate Traveller's Global Managing Director!
How Bennett Aviation made the move
Carole McCann is the sole travel booker and facilitator at aircraft inspectors Bennett Aviation.
In the midst of growth, Carole found herself swamped with travel requests and changes. It was time to offload that luggage to an expert.
Chapter 1: Your travel needs some TLC
Here’s the 35,000 ft view
- Enlisting a travel specialist, aka a TMC, takes the strain off your team.
- DIY travel booking is bad for business. We’ll show you why.
- Real-life stories to show what it means to have help and support.
- Become a pro in picking the right TMC.
All travel is personal, even when it’s done for work.
Your travellers have their own preferences for their business trips – from how they book, to the meals they have on the plane and the accommodation they pick. Travel is also unique for each and every business. Some companies care about containing costs, others are all about freedom of choice for their travellers, while some just want to make sure they have someone to call when things get hairy (think pandemic-sized travel disruptions!)
But every company cares about the safety of their colleagues, especially these days. There’s no room for error when it comes to traveller wellness and safety - whether they’re in the office or out on the road.
Feeling the pressure to create all that customisation in a process that works for everyone? It doesn’t need to be difficult. Enlist a travel partner that can do all the above (and more) for you. In the travel industry these companies are commonly known as a travel management company or TMC for short.
Want more info right away?
Real-life stories of when having a travel team can save the day
Check out these real-life sticky situations, and how a travel management team has helped:
- How to avoid a 3-hour hold with the airline.
- EAs stressed with all the travel admin.
- Borders closing and getting travellers home.
Eight ways DIY travel bookings are bad for business
Booking travel ad hoc on the web? It's wasting time, money and productivity. You'll see...
- How it's putting travellers at risk.
- Why travel shouldn't stress anyone out.
- How productivity drops without the right tools.
Unmanaged or managed travel?
What's in the best interest of your travellers and your company's bottom line? Let's dive into:
- Travel policy and bookings.
- Trip approval processes.
- Preferred suppliers and tech.
Get your copy: Myths and magic of managed travel
Is your travel budget too small for managed travel? Is it quicker to book your travel online? We answer these questions and more in this guide!
‘Swipe right’ for the perfect TMC
Many companies promise results. Here's how to find the ones that will actually improve your travel programme.
- Do you need a one-stop-travel-shop?
- Local vs global perspective?
- When do you risk 'too many cooks'?
Your checklist for the right fit TMC
Tick done! Prioritise what you want from a TMC and make sure they check off those requirements.
Key criteria includes:
- What will your travel team looks like?
- How will colleagues book travel?
- Where does the TMC have presence?
Chapter 2: Every. Pound. Counts.
Here’s the 35,000 ft view
- Saving on business travel is about much more than the cheapest fare.
- There’s some low-hanging fruit to know about.
- You wouldn’t believe what a TMC can do to help you save more.
- It’s not just the financial cost you need to consider.
- There’s a template to help.
Don’t waste another second or another pound.
Your business has goals and objectives beyond your travel programme. In fact, business travel might even be one of the least important pieces of the puzzle. But it’s still a big piece...and you need to make sure that you’re not overpaying.
Booking travel isn’t just about getting the cheapest rates, especially if your flight gets cancelled or needs to be rearranged. It ends up costing you more in the long run, in both time AND money. No, you need to consider costs from a higher vantage point; looking across the entire travel programme.
Is Mary in Sales spending too much time on InsertAirlineHere.com when she should be closing deals or running sales training? That’s the train of thought to jump on. And that’s why it pays to outsource your travel needs to a business that knows exactly what you crave.
5 quick wins to save money. Jackpot!
It’s no secret that booking business travel in advance usually means better rates, but there are plenty of other ways to save too!
Here are five quick wins to get you started.
Savings are our jam.
Look, we can go into much more detail than the below, but if you’re just starting out and want a few quick tips to save on your business travel, here are a handful of ways to get moving when it comes to airlines, hotels and ground transport.
Money (and stress)-saving reasons to offload your travel admin
Despite what its label suggests, a managed travel programme can still give your teams a lot freedom.
Here’s some of the more obscure ways to save on business travel...
Get your head in the numbers with our Savings Calculator
Use our Savings Calculator to punch in the important travel stats and see where your travel spend could take you.
It takes just two minutes we promise it's worth the time!
Guide: Don’t pinch pennies. Make smart savings.
Business travel putting a dent in your company budget? As line items go – business travel can pack a punch but there’s insider ways to get impressive savings. Download this guide for advice on:
- Slashing the biggest costs first.
- How to spend wisely.
- Next level savings.
Plus we show you how one of our customers saved big on their own business travel.
New questions to ask and answer
Maybe before the days of "you’re on mute" you could try and go it alone, but things have changed in the world of business travel since the dark days of 2020. Now, instead of your travellers focusing on the best airlines for their frequent flyer points/miles, it’s flexibility, facts and communication that are vital. Plus, your travellers want to also know how your company supports the safety of women travellers and what your plans are for sustainable travel options. There are new questions to ask and answer.
What does this mean? Your corporate travel policy needs to reflect this new world of agility, health and safety while also balancing the personal preferences of your people. A well-planned travel policy mitigates the risk of leaving your company exposed to complications...and helps you save money too. It also makes life much easier and painless in the future.
“Sweat more in peace, bleed less in battle” - Sun Tzu.
When you spend the time and effort to get your policy right, you’re setting yourself up for massive gains in the long run.
Annnnnd, surprise! We’re here to help!
Policy perfection: The key ingredients
In today’s global business environment, organisations are juggling office-based employees, staff who are working from home, consultants and teams that are spread across continents. Then add to the mix: tight budgets, COVID-19 complexities and new goals around sustainability, and suddenly a clear and updated travel policy is more important than ever.
In simple terms...if you don’t have a formal travel policy in place, you need one. This guide delves into the ingredients for the policy mix.
Benchmark your travel policy
Already have a travel policy and want to know how effective it is?
Take this easy 2-minute travel policy benchmarking quiz and get the answers on what’s working, what’s not and how to take your policy from basic to brilliant.
It’s also a great way to benchmark against others in the industry. Ready to see how your policy is doing?
Template: Kick-start your business travel policy
Creating a rock-solid business travel policy is about:
- Asking the right questions.
- Answering those questions according to your business’s goals and traveller needs.
- Specifying your preferences on a policy document.
- Telling your people about the policy and making it stick.
Got it? Goodo.
A starter policy could include instructions on booking information, domestic and international flights, accommodation and car hire/transport.
Taking your travel policy from good to great will take a bit of time. And generally, when you’re developing a more detailed policy, the process will involve input from a few key stakeholders. But, to kick-start the process for you, here’s a template of questions to guide the first draft of your policy.
Take your policy from drab to fab
It might be just a few lines in an email, a one-page doc or even a few pages of detailed travel info. No matter how formal or lengthy your policy is, there are ways to take it from good to great.
There are commonalities in travel policies but really, they’re different for every company. Your culture and your ways of working are unique, and your travel policy will be too.
Read more and download our example of what a good visual travel policy looks like for today’s SME.
It's time for a travel policy fit for 2022
Since selecting Corporate Traveller, we have gained far greater insight into our travel trends which has allowed us to implement new policies while providing our staff with the necessary flexibility.
Peter Rendall, Chief Financial Officer @ Unispace
Look, we’re lucky. Travel sells itself...it’s in our human nature to connect with others; whether it’s pleasure or business. We know that every plane has a seat, every hotel has a bed, and you have choice! So how do we step up? By knowing what will make that airplane seat more comfortable, how to make that room more enjoyable and what will make the whole journey way smoother. That way, your travellers can perform at their peak.
That starts and ends with our people. And we’re not just talking about our Travel Managers. It’s also all of our other people who sit behind the scenes. The onboarding experts that hold your hand through the process, the in-house emergency service team, the customer success teams and the negotiators that work with the airlines and hotels to secure the best possible rates. It takes an army of travel experts, all fighting for you and your success (and here at Corporate Traveller we’ve been doing it for 40 years).
Who's on your team
Customer Success Manager...does what it says in the title
Once you look closer, there's a lot of moving parts, and people, in corporate travel. To run like clockwork is totally possible and we’re here to make it happen. That's why all of our clients get a Customer Success Manager. What they do? Well, the clue’s in the job title but find out more here.
Travel wizards, ready to help
Plenty of our travel teams have more than 100 years of experience between them! That’s phenomenal, right? All that knowledge and expertise, waiting to help travellers with booking, changes and advice at the touch of a button or over the phone.
Case study: Extending Bboxx’s team
Natasha Cooper, EA to Bboxx Founder Mansoor Hamayun considers the Corporate Traveller team as colleagues of her own. The power of their bond and communication was tested during the COVID pandemic, only to be energised and better than ever.
The onboarding process
Q&A with Global Head of Onboarding, James McIlvenna
Onboarding a new customer is the bridge between sales and on-going customer success. It’s all about people, culture and goals!
Spend 2 minutes with James to hear what the onboarding team’s priorities are in 2022.
Service – The #1 Concern
Service has never been more important. We all feel it when things go wrong or we’re waiting in a queue, which is why we’re so committed to ensuring our clients don’t. Find out what a recent survey of our people and some clients have to say about service when it comes to their business trips.
Change Loading...getting buy-in
The technical challenges of introducing new technology or admin processes often pale in comparison to the most significant change obstacle of all: internal resistance.
This guide includes:
- Clarifying leadership & change management across the generations
- 3 steps: designing, deploying and driving change
- Bringing an expert on board
Here’s a pointer... whenever you tell your team that you’ve partnered with a new travel management company, you’ll likely hear concern about employees wanting freedom to book how they wish. Some like to book online, others prefer to get someone else to handle absolutely everything. We’ve already shown you how we deliver when it comes to personalized service....so let’s show you how our tech solution is up to the challenge for those who prefer to book online.
Truth be told, the online booking piece is the easiest. It really is. We’ve integrated hundreds of airlines, hotels and car rentals into our platform, so we serve up everything to your travellers instantly, literally. We even include small regional airlines that operate in the remote corners of the earth (if your people need!). The real magic comes when our technology begins to understand each traveller’s preferences and we serve up products that we know they’ll love – favourite airlines, familiar hotels, and flight times that suit each schedule...the list goes on.
The pieces of a puzzle that make a platform.
On top of a seamless booking experience, our other tech tools are top notch too.
We’ve got you covered with authorisation, risk management, reporting, a mobile platform and others.
Tech + People = a perfect match
The Melon platform serves as an easy-to-use travel search engine as well as an intelligent booking tool. My favourite thing about Melon is the Chat support functionality and incredible response times. I can quickly message a real, live agent and get the support that I need, then go about my day.
Stop. Look. Listen.
We’d love to show you what Melon is capable of so that you can see why our customers love it.
A 3-minute demo is all you need to see.
The magic is real
Want more of the detail behind our people and platform? We’ve got you covered with this overview. Of course, if you just want us to just show you, we can do that too.
Our guide gives you a look at:
- All the features and benefits of Melon
- How the platform blends seamlessly with our people
- The cost-savings potential available
- All the added pieces along the way
It’s the topic sweeping businesses globally...sustainability. You’ve likely heard it buzzing around your office and across your social feeds, and for good reason. The reality is that businesses and individuals need to start taking sustainability seriously but knowing where to begin can be a bit overwhelming. That’s why it’s important to work with a partner that has similar values and is committed to help your business become more progressive.
Listen, we won’t claim to know everything about everything, but we can give you some resources, ideas, and a bit of help to get you started. We’re in the business of travel, so our wheelhouse is helping you make your business travel count. We’re on the journey with you, and if we all start taking a personal stake, it’s amazing what we can accomplish. Let’s go!
Sustainability and making your business travel count
It’s possible to reach your business’ sustainability goals and get to where you need to be by making each trip count. We’ll look at:
- What actions can be taken to make it count
- Small steps for bigger impact
- How airlines are helping
What in the world are we doing about sustainability?
When it comes to sustainability you have to lead by example. That’s why Corporate Traveller is committed to walking the walk.
Find out what actions we’re taking so far, and how we’re being put to the test...
Guide: Planting the seeds for sustainable business travel
Tools to dial up your sustainability
We’re making it easier to track your travel, understand the more responsible options out there, and build your sustainability policies as part of your travel programme.
Have a look at some of the tools that can get you started.
Five must-have travel tools
Technology for business travel is all about making things simple, streamlining processes, gaining visibility and, most importantly, making sure your people are safe and informed. Here’s five top technology tools SMEs need for business travel.
Chapter 7: Do the Safety Dance
Here’s the 35,000 ft view
- COVID can still scupper plans, are you prepared?
- You can trust in technology to support your travellers on the road
- The safer your travellers feel, the happier and more productive they’ll be
- Read a real-life example where we helped in a disaster
When it comes right down to it, your people are your greatest asset. Which makes protecting them a pretty big deal. Even more so when they’re out on the road. And while COVID-19 gave us all a lesson in disruption, we live in an ever-changing world where anything can happen— and usually does.
This is why traveller safety should be at the heart of any travel programme. From managing any (and all) travel concerns with trustworthy advice, real-time information and smart recommendations, to health and safety dashboards and traveller tracking, it’s crucial to take a dynamic, decisive approach to duty of care.
Most people associate travel risk management with swooping in and bringing your travellers home (which does happen) but there’s way more to it. Think pre-travel risk assessments, alerts, the vetting of suppliers, open communication and 24-hour support—not to mention your traveller’s health and mental wellbeing.
Does it sound overwhelming? Don’t stress. There is tech, and people, to keep you safe!
Could COVID still scupper your plans?
We’ve all heard a few nightmare travel stories courtesy of COVID-19: bosses stuck in another country as borders closed; travellers forced to quarantine for 14 days or more; flights cancelled; regulations changed; and goalposts moved.
It’s made even the steeliest travel experts a little wary.
Take this quiz to analyse your travel plans. After all, if COVID (and the Scouts) have taught us anything, it’s be prepared.
Trust in the tech
As a business owner or travel manager, keeping your travellers safe is your top priority. One that could keep you up at night. (Why do things always go wrong after hours?)
Luckily, we have the tools, tech and expertise to support you. Even better, today’s tech is easy to use. Intrigued? Find out exactly how to make the most our risk management tools in your travel programme.
Safer travel starts here
Traveller confidence is everything. The safer your employees feel on their travels the more relaxed and productive they’ll be, which is great for morale, improving staff retention and ultimately the growth and success of your business. And it all starts with a little preparation.
Looking for the ultimate checklist to guide your travellers? From packing their bags to returning home safely, it all starts here.
Hear it from our customers
Blast Films!’s assignment saw the crew travel to The Himalayas, the jungles of Papua and Canada’s wilderness. It was while they were in Siberia that everything turned on its head, when the team witnessed a helicopter crash. We had to get the crew home.
The lowdown on traveller tracking
100% customer satisfaction. That's our jam!
The team have changed the way I book travel for the better, positively challenging our buying patterns and having real experts on side has made a huge difference.
Graeme Bowerbank, Head of Operations @ Harlequins Football Club Ltd
Better business travel...right this way:
Our workforce travels internationally all the time, and the service of our travel agent is crucial to the success of our business. One of my best business decisions was to switch to Corporate Traveller.
Rachel Coundon, Head of Administration @ Safinah
Simple and smart solutions = success!
Corporate Traveller have a simple fee for everything, so it was better value and so much easier than the solution we had before, plus it included everything we needed such as emergency assistance
Nicole DesRosiers, Corporate Office Manager @ Allteck
Want to know more?
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