Impact Publications : MiceBTN_62
MICEBTN - FEBRUARY 2016 • Page 59 For more articles and complimentary eBooks by Robyn Henderson, visit www. networkingtowin. com.au Both travel budgets and policies can benefit from road warrior input – and it’s good for business (and morale) could a brainstorming ses- sion with your road warriors and business travellers help you reduce travel costs? asks robyn henderson. Rather than tell staff what management has decided the travel policy will be, would your people help your formulate a ‘better plan’ if you involved them? After all, the business traveller is the backbone of both the hotel and airline industry. Most road warriors work in a busi- ness development capacity, with a main focus on maintaining the client base and expanding it. They already have targets and KPIs, so why not give them a travel cost reduction target? And to really appeal to your high achievers, don’t make it compulsory. High achievers love a challenge - and their energy and results will automatically encourage the medium and low achiev- ers. Trust your staff. The road warrior’s monthly travel requirements can be exhausting, tiring, exciting, disappointing and overwhelming at times. So, if they have to travel why not incentivise them to find easier, more affordable ways to travel for the organisation? What Will that looK liKe? 1. request a time slot on the next sale team agenda and create a draft travel policy and procedure. Your intention is to ensure that you outline the current spending limits on accommoda- tion, meals, transport and airfare costs per city for the overall group. Also show what the travel costs have been (for the past two years if possi- ble). If you exhibited at a trade show or industry event, discuss the travel costs involved and the percentage travel plays in the overall costs of wages, trade show costs and so on. Smart organisations involve their staff in financial decisions because it’s a quick way to get buy-in and commitment. 2. at the meeting, ask your staff for help. As markets tighten, every dollar counts and this pilot plan will either live or die in the first six months, so why not make it a quarterly challenge, so you will have three potential ‘monthly winners’ to name at quarterly meetings? hoW MiGht it WorK? a. Each staff member is invited to submit their proposed travel itinerary for the next two months and an approximate budget based on current travel policy. b. The staff are then asked to look for ways of saving money on their travel costs.... such as: i. Flying to a city on a Sunday night includes an extra night’s accommodation, but could be cheaper than a peak Mon- day morning ticket. ii. Returning on a late Thursday night flight, rather than the more expensive Friday afternoon/evening flight might require shuffling their schedules a little, but clients are often happy to accommo- date slight changes for interstate service providers. iii. Staff might source hotels that include breakfast as part of the accom- modation rate. iv. They might share taxis to and from the airports. v. Booking a 1 or 2-bedroom apartment rather than hotel rooms (or vice versa) might save considerable dollars. Basically, for every dollar staff save on their travel expenses, under this scheme are given a credit of $0.50 cents. So if they save the company $1,000, they have a credit of $500. I think it’s good business to reward those who make the savings, rather than taking the ideas and then making the reduced travel options compulsory. 3. so, the million-dollar question: Why would they bother? Obviously there are multiple options to trigger the incentives – and the key is you give the ‘winner’ their choice of spending their $500+ saving on: i. A travel credit that they can use at holiday time to purchase a holiday trip or ii. Purchasing partner travel credits to be used on weekends or extending a business trip over a weekend or iii. Gifting the credit to a family mem- ber or other staff member or iv. Converting the travel credit to cash (this would be taxable income and other ideas might also have tax implications, so ask your accountant). So before the traveller sets off, they have a simple form showing initial travel plans and costs, based on previous trips and your company’s spending limits. At the end of each month, they complete and submit a comparison with actual costs, money saved and where, actual receipts and so on. Some companies might decide to reward more than one staff member – or even reward every staff member. Motivation comes in many forms for road warriors and business travellers – but one thing is certain: if you involve them in the process, they are more likely to commit and give it a go.