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Strategies for successful business travel management

In this interview, Kelly Jones, the Managing Director for Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia & Indonesia at ATPI, shares her valuable insights into the challenges faced by travel managers and the strategies to overcome them in today's dynamic business travel landscape.
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From managing travel costs to ensuring employee safety, streamlining processes, and enhancing traveller satisfaction, Kelly provides thoughtful solutions to help businesses thrive in the evolving world of business travel.

How can we effectively manage travel costs and identify cost-saving opportunities without compromising the comfort and satisfaction of our travellers?

To effectively manage travel costs and ensure traveller satisfaction, companies should consider several key aspects. First, evaluating the necessity of travel is essential. Exploring virtual alternatives for meetings and events can eliminate unnecessary expenses. Second, combining multiple trips into one can reduce the number of flights and save on transportation costs. However, it’s crucial to balance this with additional hotel costs that may arise due to trip extensions. Lastly, businesses should also prioritise environmental sustainability. Choosing eco-friendly options, even if they are not always the cheapest, can enhance the overall travel experience.

What measures should we implement to ensure the safety and security of our employees during business travel, especially considering the evolving global risks and challenges?

Safety is paramount when it comes to business travel. Companies should have a comprehensive understanding of the travel destination and assess associated risks. Staying in safe areas and reputable hotels is crucial, especially in regions with specific safety concerns. Providing travellers with a dedicated point of contact and a robust security program offers the necessary support and peace of mind. Encouraging compliance with the approved travel program helps track travellers’ whereabouts. Additionally, partnering with organisations that offer repatriation services and medical assistance can be beneficial, particularly for travel to higher or medium-risk areas.

How can we streamline and automate our travel booking and expense management processes to enhance efficiency and reduce administrative burdens?

Streamlining travel booking and expense management processes can significantly improve efficiency. Companies should ensure that their chosen travel agency and expense management provider have compatible systems that can communicate with each other. Simplifying the expense claim process for travellers is essential, allowing easy input of major expenses and matching them with smaller miscellaneous claims. Ongoing consultation and collaboration between travel managers and departments ensure smooth coordination and optimisation of the overall travel experience.

What strategies and technologies should we adopt to enhance traveller satisfaction and engagement, considering the changing expectations and preferences of modern business travellers?

To enhance traveller satisfaction, businesses can consider several strategies. First, strategic considerations and personalised options play a significant role. Allowing travellers to personalise their trips, such as choosing trip types based on cost and sustainability factors, can boost engagement. Offering sustainable and flexible choices aligned with travellers’ environmental values is also vital. Implementing technology solutions like mobile apps and online platforms can streamline processes and improve the overall travel experience, further contributing to traveller satisfaction.

With the increasing concerns about sustainability and the environment, how can we incorporate sustainable practices into our travel programs and make responsible choices without adversely affecting our business operations?

Incorporating sustainable practices requires a thoughtful approach. Companies should assess their carbon footprint and set targets for reducing emissions. Choosing eco-friendly transportation and accommodations can significantly contribute to reducing the carbon footprint. To address the remaining emissions, companies can offset them by supporting projects that remove or reduce carbon from the atmosphere, such as reforestation or renewable energy initiatives. Transparency and visibility throughout the travel journey ensure responsible choices without adversely affecting business operations.

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