How to... find fur­ther sav­ings in a ma­ture travel pro­gramme

The Business Travel Magazine - - Arrivals The Knowledge -

En­ergy sup­plier npower fun­da­men­tally changed its busi­ness travel pro­gramme as it sought sav­ings and ef­fi­cien­cies. Read on to find out how it went about it

THE PLAN THE BACK­GROUND

Swin­don-based npower had a ma­ture travel pro­gramme but Group Travel Man­ager, Jo Mc­quade, was tasked with find­ing fur­ther sav­ings as part of a com­pany-wide ini­tia­tive. It has worked with Carl­son Wagonlit Travel for over 20 years and had an im­plant from the TMC within its head­quar­ters. “As well as cost sav­ings on ac­tual travel, we knew we could re­duce op­er­a­tional costs too,” says Mc­quade. npower went out to ten­der and ul­ti­mately reap­pointed CWT. The com­pany’s plan was mul­ti­faceted and would fun­da­men­tally change its travel op­er­a­tion.

“One of the key pil­lars of the ten­der was to re­move the im­plant,” says Mc­quade. “As a com­pany we were be­com­ing much more ag­ile in terms of work­ing prac­tices so hav­ing an im­plant wasn’t nec­es­sary any­more.”

The se­cond key com­po­nent of the plan was to in­crease adop­tion of its cytric self­book­ing tool through a new man­date, and the third was to switch GDS from Galileo to Amadeus in or­der to align with the Amadeus-owned cytric tool. npower also looked at re­duc­ing in­ter­nal travel and pro­mot­ing the use of video­con­fer­enc­ing.

THE PROCESS

Although CWT had been reap­pointed, it was treated as a new im­ple­men­ta­tion and a ded­i­cated team was ap­pointed. “The im­plant was closed down and we pushed the but­ton on the book­ing tool man­date in March last year,” says Mc­quade. “Buy-in from se­nior man­age­ment was cru­cial for all these as­pects to suc­ceed.”

Equally im­por­tant was her ex­pe­ri­ence in stake­holder en­gage­ment. “We were ner­vous about man­dat­ing use of the book­ing tool but de­cided a soft ap­proach wouldn’t work,” she says. “We made it very clear to trav­ellers why we were mak­ing the changes and what they should book through cytric and what could go through CWT – namely long-haul and com­plex travel. CWT were able to re­di­rect our staff to cytric if they were only mak­ing straight­for­ward book­ings.”

Mc­quade was ner­vous about the GDS switch, which went smoothly. The only stum­bling block was the way in which cytric sup­port was de­liv­ered. “Pre­vi­ously this was of­fered by the im­plant and un­der the new con­tract would be de­liv­ered off site by a tech­ni­cal team only. We soon re­alised that when trav­ellers were faced with a chal­lenge in cytric, they needed travel ad­vice, not nec­es­sar­ily ‘tech­ni­cal sup­port’. We there­fore moved the sup­port back into the ded­i­cated team where ser­vice has re­turned to its pre­vi­ous high level.”

THE OUT­COME

npower achieved its tar­gets by both cut­ting travel spend and op­er­a­tional costs. “Be­fore the changes were im­ple­mented we were at 75% adop­tion of cytric for el­i­gi­ble book­ings through nat­u­ral pro­gres­sion,” says Mc­quade. “This is now up at 90% and in Novem­ber was 98%. We were so ex­cited by that – I was bounc­ing around the room!”

The in­crease has trans­lated to cost sav­ings in the re­gion of 32% re­duc­tion against op­er­a­tional costs. Av­er­age room rates and fares also saw a re­duc­tion.

“To sup­port these changes, we con­tin­ued to ed­u­cate our trav­ellers and book­ers to ‘meet’ in al­ter­na­tive ways – Lync and VC, for ex­am­ple – but also about the im­por­tance of book­ing in ad­vance,” says Mc­quade.

“Over­all, it’s been hugely suc­cess­ful and that’s in no small part down to the amount we com­mu­ni­cated with trav­ellers ahead of the changes.”

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