Buyers looking to create a multinational or global travel programmes have been urged to “keep things simple” to ensure the move is a success.
A panel of three European-based buyers talked about how they had rolled out a global programme, during a session at the Business Travel Show in London, with one buyer admitting the transition can be a “bumpy ride”.
“It’s about keeping it simple – if you try to overcomplicate things then you’re going to trip yourself up,” explained one buyer.
“We have a global policy across the board but it’s not overly complicated. You want people to buy into it, so keep it flexible and keep it simple. The key thing is how can you use technology to communicate better to your travellers and travel bookers.
“We have achieved 91 per online adoption. We don’t police it – we subtly push people to do it.”
Another buyer said one of the keys to introducing a global programme was using both global and local policies.
“The global policy is an umbrella for local policies,” she said. “Local policies deal with more strict things, such as local finance and tax requirements.”
She added that consolidating the number of suppliers used, including TMCs, was also important to secure better deals and savings, as well as making it easier to collect and analyse data.
Other key elements to introducing a global programme were communication and education, as well as establishing strong personal relationships with your regional travel managers around the world, including meeting them face-to-face “from time to time”.
The third buyer on the panel said that the keys to being successful were “process, reporting and having one account manager” to work with at a TMC.
“I only want to talk to my account manager because they understand my thinking, policies and approach to travel management,” she added. “I don’t want to have discussions with every single travel agent.”
All three buyers agreed it was difficult to find travel suppliers who were “truly global” in the services they were able to offer.
“A lot of suppliers think they are global but really they are not,” said one of the buyers. “It’s hard to find really truly global suppliers to work with, without them having massive exceptions.”
The buyers also agreed that one of the biggest problems was finding a single global payments provider to work across all of their markets.
“Payment solutions is painful as the market is very disjointed,” said one buyer. “Nobody is able to provide an end-to-end service globally.”