Inside View with BCD Travel President & CEO John Snyder

Recruiting travelers as allies in improving corporate programs.

Getting started—Hello, Move readers. We at BCD Travel are pleased that you come to our news site to find out what’s happening and get our take on the trends. With this first installment of Inside View, I’m throwing my own viewpoints into the mix, as well. Let me know your thoughts.

Tallying traveler engagement— For years we’ve all focused on business travel spend. Companies like yours and TMCs like ours have put a lot of time and energy into squeezing costs out of every trip. And we’ve made great strides, gaining productivity and efficiency as we’ve trimmed travel expenditures. But as we look at the digital present and future, it’s time to rethink our approach savings. Mobile-enabled travelers are travel programs’ greatest allies in the battle for improvements—from containing costs to ensuring value from suppliers. Our consulting arm, Advito, has spent the last several months demonstrating to clients the importance of engaging their travelers to further program goals. Now clients are seeing the benefits.

One of the first companies to sign up with Advito’s traveler engagement practice last year was Mondelēz International, a global snack foods giant that wanted to increase employee involvement in and knowledge about its travel and meetings program. Advito designed a campaign that increased policy awareness and compliance; strengthened the program’s internal brand; and ultimately led to a reduction in travel spend of more than 20%. Those successes show the power of the traveler and explain why companies that move from mandates to engagement are seeing improvements, even in mature travel programs. Check out Advito’s case study detailing the results.

Reporting successes to stakeholders—Wouldn’t it be great if travel buyers could present a case study to their stakeholders for every major success? While that may not be likely, the truth is that a smartly planned presentation also can tell the story of a travel program’s achievements. Start with your stakeholder groups in mind—not just those of us with “chief” in our title, but also leaders in human resources, security and business development. Present travel program information and results that align with corporate goals, as well as stakeholders’ areas of interest. Don’t cloud your message. If you’re talking about savings, focus on results—not how they’re measured. (But be prepared to explain how they’re measured, in case that comes up in a Q&A.)

I can tell you firsthand that executives care about cause and effect. They want benchmarks that explain how your department stacks up to others or how your company’s travel program is outperforming corporate peers. And—most importantly—they want actionable information, a guide for fixing what’s broken or expanding what’s working well. Check out this month’s Move story on reporting program results for more suggestions on how to tell your travel program story effectively.

Gearing up for The Beat Live—One of the places I’ll be discussing these topics—and any others BTN Group Editorial Director David Meyer throws my way—is at The Beat Live, Sept. 29-Oct. 1 in Arlington, Virginia. On Sept. 30, I’ll take center stage for “The Interview,” a wide-ranging conversation that’s sure to touch on the sharing economy, IATA’s new distribution capability, Lufthansa’s distribution cost charge and more. In addition to talking about what’s in the news, I’ll be eager to discuss the ongoing value of TMCs and how to improve the traveler experience. David and I will have plenty to talk about.

What do you think? I’d love to hear from you about what you’ve read here or would like to read in future segments of Inside View. Send me an email at insideview@bcdtravel.com.

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