ASATA column: Travel Spend

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For many, the month of February sees the financial end to the year and the analysis and reconciliation process of an annual budget begins. In the pre-global recession – or perhaps it should be more appropriately termed the ‘Western recession’ – budgets were viewed as a target. A common trend we used to pick up was the surge of spend on travel in the last couple of months prior to the financial year-end. The mantra was well known: “if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it” and in those good old days we saw our customers using it – in a big way! 

My, how things have changed! 

The events of the last couple of years have changed things considerably and, whilst we have improved efficiencies and streamlined processes, there are a number of important things to remember when looking for savings on travel spend.

  • Cheap fares are often restricted by excessive rules, and it’s those rules that restrict any further changes.  Travellers who are on business are more likely to alter their plans than those leisure passengers who are travelling on holiday.  It is also important to calculate the value of the traveller’s time versus the savings on a cheap fare.  So when an executive from your business needs to make a change, whether it’s a delayed flight, an altered meeting or an unforeseen urgency, it may be more resourceful to have the ability to make the change.
  • The only name that is correct on an air ticket is the same one that appears on your passport.  If it is wrong you will be denied boarding – a costly mistake.
  • Allow sufficient time between flights!  Airports are vast and complex buildings with hundreds of people equally as baffled at their signage as you are, so arriving slightly later than anticipated and then having to hotfoot from one end to the other could be an extremely stressful journey.  The consequence of missing your return flight has great cost implications, not only in the penalties on your ticket, but additional hotel accommodation and, once again, the cost of your traveller’s time.

Using a reputable Travel Management Company that is a Member of ASATA has never been more important than it is today, if we put aside the economic events of recent years and focus on the environmental and political challenges that we have seen. The travelling world came to a standstill for ten days owing to an ash cloud that hung over Europe, and just eight months later in December 2010 we saw unprecedented snow fall throughout the same region. Queensland, Australia, was just about washed away and parts of our very own country have been under water for much of this summer. Where does this leave you, the visitor?  Out of pocket…

Politically, the world is a volatile place and the recent uprising in Egypt shows us just how quickly a seemingly stable country can turn to mayhem, and as a traveller you become incredibly vulnerable. Throughout all of the recent events that have rocked business travel, only one thing was certain: Those passengers who utilised the services of an ASATA Member were assisted efficiently and, in fact, many of the airlines with passengers who needed help with bookings and assistance placed their emergency calls to ASATA Members to deal with. 

It is only fitting, then, to remind you that, “With us you’re NEVER on your own”. Make certain that your travel management company is an ASATA Member – it’s the most cost-efficient thing you can do.

 

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