Key Steps from A to Z

As a start, take stock of how effectively each process works for you now in terms of:

1. Support for the overall business objectives determined by your company
2. Support for the goals of your travel management program, whether they are

     To assure the company optimal return on investment for travel spending, and to identify cost savings opportunities

     To improve service to the company and its travelers and improve traveler productivity

     To enhance administrative efficiency


3. Compatibility with the company's culture and its quality improvement programs
4. Support for the company's investment in long-term technology strategies

Assess the broad areas where you could make the greatest gains through automation. Ask yourself these questions:

1. How can you simplify the travel process?
2. Where are you having problems?
3. What big expenditures can you reduce or eliminate?
4. Do you need to improve the decision-making process?
5. What other corporate technology initiatives areplanned? Is your company's it strategy to outsource some functions or consolidate with an enterprise-wide system?


Look at management information reports to analyze with more precision what you stand to gain.

1. Consider the costs of each step in your current process and the schedule of fees you are paying the travel agency to determine the areas of best financial opportunity.
2. Look for patterns that point to phases in the travel process or cost areas that can be automated effectively. If you see many occasions where many people travel at the same time to the same destination, consider an automated booking system or pre-trip reporting tool that will alert you to opportunities for group rates or videoconferencing.
3. Study the data to determine the "travel impact points," like the most frequent city pairs, and think about applying technology to them.
4. Evaluate which individuals and departments travel most heavily, and for what purposes.
5. Compare your data with industry benchmarks from (other) consultants, your travel agency, periodicals and research reports.

     Look at how technology made a difference in their results.

     Where your results differ from the benchmarks, consider how automation might help. If your hotel rates are high, you could need better data for negotiating, or a system that helps ensure that travelers book the negotiated rate.

Involve all the stakeholders as early as possible.

1. As travel software decisions increasingly involve interfaces with other corporate systems and databases, consider including it, accounting and human resources representatives, as well as the corporate IS/IT Management, frequent travelers and travel arrangers in the decision-making process.
2. Consider including international divisions or subsidiaries.
3. Including stakeholders from the earliest stages improves the process and helps win their support of the program.

Beware of making the formal decision-making team so large that it is impossible to get anything accomplished.