“Mavericks” should be embraced

There is room for a little bit anarchy in every managed travel programme, Andrew Burch, business development manager for Hillgate Travel, said.

He said travellers should be split into two sections: those who do what they wanted and those who did as they were told.

But Mr Burch, speaking at a seminar at the Business Travel Market in London today (June 17) warned that not all those in the first category would be from senior management.

There were “mavericks” at other levels but these should be “embraced to get them into the programme.”

“Travel manager have varying levels of control over their travellers but you should not kowtow to senior management. There must be rules,” he said.

He said it was not possible to enforce a managed programme on all travellers, citing traveller tracking as an example.

“We need to know where travellers are but if they don’t want us to know, they will not tell us to tell. We might know a traveller has booked into a hotel in New York but after that we would not have a clue where they were,” Mr Burch said.

Earlier in the seminar, Torsten Kriedt, vp for innovation and intelligence for Advito, said that even managed programmes had parts which were not managed.

He said there was a doubt as to where the boundaries between managed and unmanaged travel lay.

 He said there were now fewer dedicated travel managers than just a few years ago with procurement people spending time on travel as one of several responsibilities.

While there were more mandated policies, there was “hardly any 100% compliance”.

There was also more use of spot rate and a move away from negotiated deals.

While more companies had security policies, there were still many who did nor and “hardly any organisation” receives full data on its travel spend and few had data warehousing.

“There is a lot of anarchy already going in but I will call it managed anarchy. You manage your programme according to your own guidelines.” Mr Kriedt said.

“If you want to increase the carrot and reduce the stick – fine. And if you want to do it the other way, that is also fine.”

But he said that many SMEs which had unmanaged programmes had achieved savings and the major corporates could learn something from this.

But both speakers agreed that a managed policy through a TMC was better practice than an unmanaged programme.

www.businesstravelmarket.co.uk  www.hillgatetravel.com  www.advito.com

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