Travel Department Formation
Corporate travel spend is typically the 2nd to 6th largest controllable expense on a corporate P&L. At that level, it’s a tipping point where having an in-house travel program makes sense as an effective solution to containing travel costs while capturing highly effective business intelligence from which to base future management decisions. Developing an internal corporate travel program from the ground up does not have to be a complex undertaking if the process is managed within the parameters of a business plan, the inclusion of internal subject matter experts, and an experienced professional advisor to guide the entire process. The end result will drive travel compliance; enhance employee capital (productivity, time, safety, security, and communication); manage compliance and governance; prevent fraud, waste and abuse; control costs; and drive a positive return-on-investment to the company.
GTAS consultants have years of experience assisting corporations in understanding the benefits of an in-house travel department and designing travel departments that not only meet the current corporate needs, but also those of the future as the business grows. GTAS works with clients on four key guidelines when developing travel programs:
The Right Strategy
The Right Team
The Right Business Partners
The Right Costs
ARC is a technology solutions company providing transaction settlement and data.
In 1998, the Airline Reporting Corporation (ARC) ushered in a new era of travel management by introducing the accredited Corporate Travel Department (CTD) designation – enabling corporations to gain control of, and internally manage, their travel program. There are six distinct advantages to consider when determining your travel department’s future by becoming an ARC-accredited CTD: (1) An individual ARC number is assigned to your company; (2) A direct relationship is created with air carriers for ticketing; (3) You now own your travel booking data; (4) You now have access to ARC’s central reporting and settlement processing systems; (5) You gain unlimited flexibility in operational configurations and workflow processes; and (6) You directly collect all earned commissions from suppliers.
Management of a CTD is basically “freedom within a framework” – and is only limited to your imagination.
By joining the ranks of the CTD community, corporations and travel managers have changed their travel program’s paradigm from being a purchaser of travel services from a travel agency (TMC) and other suppliers, to being a procurer of travel services via specific suppliers who meet your individual travel program objectives. The key value proposition for becoming a CTD is that you have a plethora of options to manage all aspects of your travel program while gaining one major coveted benefit: TOTAL CONTROL OF ALL COMPONENTS OF YOUR TRAVEL PROGRAM.
Benefits of ARC-accreditation
Program – ARC (tracking) Number, contracts, people, strategy
Integrity – Data, financials, pricing metrics, duty of care, audit, business intelligence
Transparency - Travel policy compliance, transactions, earned commissions
Flexibility – Workflow processes, supply chain management, technology procurement
Travel Program Assessments
A major best practice within a corporate travel department is to periodically perform a management and operational audit to ensure it is operating in a compliant, effective, and efficient manner. GTAS assesses the organizational, financial and operational structure; program data and business intelligence; supply chain workflow; embedded technology; and compliance, reporting, and program metrics (KPIs). Additionally, each evaluation addresses TMC and supplier performance and we identify gaps between current travel management practices and industry practices beyond best-in-class.
GTAS can effectively assess the Current State Design environment of a corporate travel department and provide recommendations for improvement via the development and implementation of a comprehensive Future State Design environment. The ultimate goal is to provide a roadmap for an effective and well-structured organization whose business processes will contribute to shareholder value.
Agile Travel Supply Chain
The agile travel supply chain is an end-to-end process of planning, implementing and controlling operational, management and financial activities that integrate corporate business strategies, inventory management, and financial controls. The goals are to provide a consistent, uneventful travel experience to the employee, while providing the company with a wealth of business intelligence to influence behavior and enhance strategic business decisions. When each element is combined appropriately, they produce an agile method of driving unassisted and assisted travel arrangements that:
Enhance traveler productivity through efficient workflow processes
Maximize value through the delivery of travel inventory content at the lowest cost
Drive internal control of all booking and transaction data
Deliver robust reporting capabilities through integrated functionality and features
Travel Policy Assessment / Development
The most effective tool in a corporate travel department is a comprehensive, overarching and approved “Living” Travel Policy, a resource to:
Ensure corporate compliance and governance as it relates to all aspects of a company’s domestic and international travel
Control business travel expenses
Assist travelers in a compliant, cost effective and safe manner.
The foundational basis for the creation of a travel policy is to: (1) Ensure that a company achieves the maximum value for each travel dollar spent; (2) Effectively manage compliance and governance; (3) Eliminate fraud, waste and abuse; (4) Enhance employee capital (time, productivity, and communication); and (5) Achieve the company’s Duty-of-Care commitment to traveling employees.
GTAS assists clients in bench-marking and recommending updates to current policies as well as developing new corporate travel policies. We employ a smart, responsible and disciplined approach that aligns with corporate objectives
Financial Audit Process
A key best practice within a corporation is for internal audit to conduct a comprehensive financial audit of each department within the company on a periodic basis to: (1) Ensure compliance and governance with internal financial controls; (2) Review operational processes; (3) Detect leakage via fraud, waste, and abuse; (4) Ensure contractual agreements are adhered to; and (5) Reconcile accounts receivable and payable. The Travel and Meetings departments should be no exception to the corporate auditing process – especially considering the complexities of travel as well as the financial implications of transactions, cancellations, credits and commissions owed, among other considerations.
GTAS has consultants that specialize in financial audits and who work hand-in-hand with corporate auditors to ensure a comprehensive travel department audit is accomplished. In some cases, GTAS will perform independent audits on behalf of a corporate audit department.
Fraud / Waste / Abuse Opportunity
Fraud, waste and abuse in a managed or unmanaged travel program must be addressed swiftly when suspected or discovered. GTAS works with its clients to address three key interrelated elements within a travel program that address the reduction and/or elimination of fraud, waste and abuse: (1) a comprehensive, approved “living” travel policy; (2) close monitoring of company expense reporting systems and corporate cards; and (3) periodic audits of both internal and external influencers to ensure appropriate financial controls are in place.
The most valuable assets within a managed travel program are its employees. Therefore, one of the primary functions of the corporate travel department leadership team is to identify and develop the future leaders of the department that facilitates a smooth transition when positions become available.
GTAS works with Human Resource departments by providing travel industry expertise for People Asset Review (PAR) processes that are utilized to identify and develop future leaders. This is accomplished by placing the right people in the right positions at the right time – based on performance, potential, needed development, and readiness to accept higher levels of responsibility. In addition, the PAR identifies highly talented employees who have notable potential and the ability to become Managers or Directors within or outside the travel department.
In addition, GTAS works with corporate Human Resource departments to create, and administer:
Career Path Development plans
Comprehensive Position Descriptions
Travel Training Courses
In today’s fast paced travel environment, there are times when travel or meetings managers require additional professional manpower for specific assignments. GTAS has assisted numerous clients by providing consultants for:
Temporary travel and meeting management personnel
Assistance in establishing international departments
Negotiation assistance with airlines, hotels and rental car agencies
All engagements are professionally managed by GTAS.