Diversity Travel, the TMC that specialises in the charity and academic sector, has shortlisted the top five budget trends set to impact travel management in 2015.
It also gives examples of how to adapt with continued budget constraints next year.
Budgets will remain restrained but there are positive signs of growth
Organisations in the charity and academic sectors are still under much financial scrutiny and many felt that this was a situation, partly resulting from the recession, which would not change.
However, there are green shoots of growth and examples of organisations looking to increase travel spend, but only in ways that ultimately help them work more effectively. For example, some Diversity Travel clients book upgraded seats on flights so employees arrive refreshed and ready to work, rather than needing a rest day, making them more efficient and making project budgets go further.
Accountability will be crucial in 2015 and big data will help support cost savings
Charities and public sector organisations will be under increased pressure to prove that a trip absolutely needs to happen, to demonstrate that the most cost effective way of travelling is booked and to ensure that every element of travel spend is recorded accurately.
Some charities bidding for institutional donor funds in 2015 predicted that cost control and recovery will remain a major focus.
Added value is not just a focus, it is expected
Added value isn’t really ‘added’ anymore, it is simply expected. From providing exceptional customer service to advice on legislation, visa services and relevant data, added value offers are set to be increasingly important as clients look to maximise budgets at every step in 2015.
Technology will remain an important trend for added value in 2015, but personal relationships and service from highly qualified and experienced individuals who understand a client’s business needs inside out remains crucially important to make travel management more valuable.
Financial planning is more difficult than ever
World events, wars and crises can impact charities and the public sector more than many industries, despite even the most meticulous planning. Clients found that situations such as the Ebola crisis mean that travel budgets are very difficult to plan and with Ebola set to continue to affect many people into 2015, projecting travel spend will remain a challenge.
Understanding legislation will be crucial
Updates to legislation are always a hot topic and can have a major impact on travel budgets: being able to track these changes and adapt will be very important in 2015. A review of the law in relation to travel protection for charity volunteers, for example, and the implementation of EU legislation on public procurement processes were highlighted as important issues for the sector in 2015.
The trends are based on interviews Diversity Travel did with some of its largest clients. It was named 34 in BBT’s top 50 UK TMCs for 2014.