Time & money: What unmanaged business travel is really costing you

Thanks to the constant advancement of technology we’ve seen in the last century, the world is now a much smaller place than it was just one or two generations ago. We’re able to speak to people face to face in different time zones with just a smartphone, and can be on the other side of the world within 24 hours.

These advances have helped businesses grow extraordinarily, particularly when it comes to business travel. Because it’s so easy to visit a potential client or partnership in another country, business travel has become invaluable to companies all over the world.

The growth of business travel shows no signs of stopping, but it can be a difficult aspect of your business to streamline and perfect when not managed properly. If nobody within an organisation is responsible for business travel or implementing a complete travel policy for employees to adhere to, your company could be facing a problem.

Business travel is often one of the largest costs to businesses – but do businesses actually know what it’s really costing them? The answers might surprise you. CT Business Travel, corporate travel management specialists, recently published a white paper entitled “The Hidden Costs of Unmanaged Business Travel.” In the white paper, the main pain points of unmanaged business travel are examined in depth.

You’re spending more money than you should

No matter how many hours are spent shopping for the best business travel rates, whether it’s for airfares, hotels, car hire or a combination, you will struggle to access the best rates possible without the buying power of a travel management company. Because travel management companies are able to negotiate corporate rates with trusted suppliers and use their knowledge of the best routes, clients benefit greatly from the savings achieved.

For example, the white paper references a case study about a client was spending more than three hours booking each business trip, we also find that they were spending £400,000 annually on business travel. After introducing the correct tools and procedures, through working with the travel management company, the client’s annual spend was reduced by 14% – saving them £54,000.

Even with the most detailed travel policy in place which restricts employees to the most budget friendly travel suppliers, you’re likely to struggle to get prices down as far as they can go. This is because you’re working without access to globally discounted fares, negotiated car hire and hotel rates, which are not accessible when booking through aggregators. Travel management companies, however, are able to negotiate competitively discounted rates with suppliers, bringing their clients the best savings possible.

Business travel is costing you more time than you realise

What might come as a surprise is the fact that one of the biggest costs to an organisation in terms of business travel is time. It’s not uncommon for a business to spend hours on arranging a single business trip. Revisiting the white paper’s case study, we find that the client was previously spending an average of three hours when arranging a single trip. Anyone who hasn’t booked a business trip but has spent hours searching for the best holiday deals knows just how much time can disappear when searching for the best prices.

And this is easy to believe – especially when you break down all the steps that occur before finalising travel arrangements. This includes everything from ensuring the trip has proper approval, gathering all necessary travel documents, shopping for the best prices to arranging travel insurance, researching and booking reputable and recommended hotels, and arranging transfers or car hire.

Breaking this down and looking into the hours that go into arranging a business trip, it’s easy to see how unmanaged business travel can take up more time than you’re realising, when employees could be carrying on with more productive tasks central to their role.

Want to read the full white paper from CT Business Travel? You can download it here to learn more about the pain points and hidden costs of unmanaged business travel.