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Head of Global Accounts and Corporations at Amadeus Latin America
Editor’s note: This post is part of a series that looks at key trends in business travel in different parts of the world, as uncovered by local and regional studies that Amadeus participated in. How does this match up with your own experience with business travel?
Corporate travel has increased considerably in Latin America over the past decade. According to the first edition of the Latin American Business Travel Barometer, developed by Concomitance Group with the support of Amadeus, this kind of travel has had an average growth rate of 7.2% since 2000, and the budget that companies from the region allocate for business travel increased by almost 5% between May 2013 and April 2014. This growth shows that companies are expanding their business, both locally and globally, which requires their staff to travel more frequently. However, when poorly managed, business travel may no longer be an advantage to companies and may, instead, become a burden.
To get the most out of the time spent travelling and to reduce costs, there are some factors which companies or corporations must take into consideration:
1. Adopting a travel policy
Companies must define a travel policy that is respected by all. This policy can establish standards that make it easier to keep track of business travel and allows the company to lower costs. For example, by choosing a single airline or travel agency, the company can offer exclusivity in exchange for better prices.
2. Establishing a team to be responsible for the sector
If the company has a high number of trips per year, it is highly recommended to have a team that is responsible for corporate travel in order to verify the need to adopt direct bookings and expense control tools, as well as to come up with the better ways of organizing the travel policy in accordance with the available budget.
3. Giving autonomy to the traveller
Establishing a team that is responsible for the travel policy helps to improve cost management, but this should not completely limit the traveller’s autonomy. The travel policy must guide the executive; however, the policy should also allow the employee to adapt the trip to his or her requirements. An online reservation tool, for instance, allows the executive to optimize reservations in line with personal preferences.
4. Enhancing the traveller’s security
The security of the business traveller is essential. The company needs to make choices and define standards that ensure the employee’s integrity, such as having reliable partners (hotel networks, airlines, travel insurance) that will assist the executive in certain crisis situations.
5. Mobility and automation
Finally, in order to ease the processes and to optimize time, it is important to automate the administration of management platforms, as well as to adopt mobile solutions. Mobile solutions provide the traveller with access to all information needed during different stages of the trip, such as search options, ticket reservations, alerts if an itinerary has been changed, flight status and boarding information, among others.
To adopt the practices mentioned above, the best option for the company is to search for providers that keep pace with the market’s evolution and are able to fully address their needs. Finding a partner that meets the full travel chain is more efficient than hiring different services from different providers.
At Amadeus we are always happy to discuss in more detail how we can help corporations meet their travel objectives whilst keeping costs to a minimum. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch!