What is a Company Travel Policy?
A great company travel policy is used for the protection of companies’ employees while traveling, to reduce the small business travel expenses, and to limit clients’ legal liabilities. It should be developed by starting with the booking of any trip and ending with paperwork the company’s employees file after their return.
To establish a travel policy, a set of rules are developed to guide the company’s travelers. These guidelines must be communicated regularly to these employees. The guidelines should show the preferred providers, per diem rates, the service class to choose, and other basic guidelines. Also, some specifics must be addressed wherever applicable. For example, companies don’t want their employees spending all day at an airport in which is not their final destination. In such cases, the company may want to specify a layover if it saves the company over $300 off the air flight. This is just an example. In reality, many small businesses won’t require an employee to spend several more hours in a city that’s on its way to Fargo to save just a few dollars.
Airlines & Negotiated Rates
Negotiating airline rates is becoming more difficult these days due to airlines consolidating, the narrowing of routes, and the limited discounts available that would protect the airlines already shaky bottom lines. Nevertheless, negotiating airline rates can still be done with thorough data.
When working on negotiating with airlines, the company’s manager must be able to demonstrate a significant level of travel volume to even get an airline to answer the phone for negotiations. The manager must also be able to shift and control that volume to the preferred airline. Once those foundations are established, he/she must be realistic in setting negotiations that are based on the company’s travel program. And if the manager is not experienced in these types of negotiations, he or she may need to consult experts to assist with this process.
There is a true saying that better preparation prevents poor performance, and this can be applied with the negotiation process as well. The following are certain steps companies should adhere to for more propensity of success with this negotiation process:
- Gathering as much information as possible concerning the travelers’ patterns– this can be retrieved from corporate cards, a third party consolidator, the travel management company, or through online booking tools. From there, the manager can determine the airlines used most frequently, the airlines serving the needed route, and the pair of cities the company’s travelers go between the most. There shouldn’t be any overlooking of low cost carriers or foreign carriers that are less known. Also, the U.S Department of Transportation would have free information concerning the airline market share.
- Determine the right point of contact at the airlines for negotiation– for big companies with large travel programs amounting to several million dollars each year, the airlines’ corporate sales directors may work with them. However, smaller programs may deal with sales managers or regional corporate account execs.
- Search for the company’s program benefits to use as a selling point for airlines– different things can be used, such as the ability to shift a significant level of the company’s travel volume share to a single airline, and possessing a high volume on a route that is not a traditional busy route.
- Determine which types of discounts would be requested from the airline– for less established programs, aiming for backend rebates would be helpful once a specific volume is established by the company, for instance. Another example could be obtaining direct discounts on special classifications of airfare.
- Being persistent– different things can done to achieve the company’s goals. For example, tapping into inside and outside resources of the company to assist with negotiations, and talking with multiple airlines, the travel management company, and the company’s procurement department are other tools to use. And when talking with multiple airlines, it’s imperative to be careful of nondisclosure agreements within contracts.
- Consulting the legal team before signing the contract– asking the company’s legal department or an expert attorney to review is imperative before signing any contract.
- Managing the airline program to ensure smooth sailing of the next negotiation– this is done by communicating to the travelers about the policy and the preferred airlines, by considering to make it mandatory for travelers to travel booking to the discounted airlines, and by monitoring compliance.
Corporate Travel Services for Business Travelers by Ryanair
The corporate travel services for business travelers by Ryanair is known as business plus. The ticket price for this plan starts at $78.50 (69.99 €), and it includes free changes on the travel day. Business passengers will have premium seating, but it’s subject to availability. Fast track security will be accessible for these passengers at selected airports as well. Also, passengers are able to take a free 10 kg cabin bag along with a small carry-on and a free 20 kg check-in bag. Business passengers also don’t have to go through queues because a dedicated business plus desk will be provided at the airport. Passengers will, however, have to pay for food and drinks regardless if they board on first or last. Ryanair is offering this business class service to all its flights as it pursuing to gain a larger portion of the corporate travelling market of Europe.
Ryanair has been following their competitor, EasyJet. Both of them have been adding new destinations in order to win over more business passengers and to improve the frequency of flights. They both know that passengers these days want different things. It’s no long the lounge, free food, and free drinks. It’s not to spend all day at the airport, but to spend more time at the meetings, and to have more value for the money.
Having said this, Ryanair’s chief marketing office, Kenny Jacobs, assured that the business plus fair would always be more affordable than the flexible business fare from another carrier. And even though there would be no installation of different seats and no curtains, the business passengers would be located at the very front and back of the planes to ensure these passengers can easy and quickly get on and off the plane.