QBT – Business travel made simple
See what went into the travel management program that won the BTTB-GBTA 2017 'Travel Program of the Year' award.
We’re sure you already know that that the mainstay of successful and efficient business travel is a carefully thought out and even more carefully managed travel program.
In 2017, an exceptional travel management program will be driven by automation, tailored to mirror the booking and travel behaviours of employees (which inherently encourages travel policy compliance) and complemented with competitive supplier deals and purposeful relationships with travel providers.
We could go on all day (and night, depending on who you ask) about the important elements of a truly comprehensive travel management program. Instead, we thought we would hand it over to an organisation whose travel management program is so distinguished, it won an award.
Earlier this year, the Australian Government won the BTTB-GBTA 2017 “Travel Program of the Year” award (pictured below), an accolade that recognises the best of the best in travel programs. We asked Kate McKay, Director of the program to share some advice to help you improve your own travel program.
The Whole-of-Australian Government (WoAG) Travel Arrangements (the Arrangements), which commenced on 1 July 2010, provide a coordinated approach to servicing the government’s broad range of travel needs. The Department of Finance undertakes the procurement and management of the related contracts on behalf of the government.
The Arrangements offer a simple, seamless and efficient travel solution that:
The Arrangements currently comprise of:
The Arrangements are unique in terms of the volume and diversity of travel requirements. Over 140 agencies book travel through the Arrangements, and each agency can have different needs and priorities.
The level of travel changes year to year and reflects the operational needs of agencies in delivering programs and services for the Government.
The reasons for travel can range from deploying Australian Defence Force personnel; transporting military veterans to medical appointments or commemoration events; supporting security operations to assisting with local and international natural disasters.
As part of a continuous improvement agenda, new technology is continually considered and existing processes reviewed to ensure the most efficient tools and practices are in place. Despite the large scale of travellers and differing travel requirements, a number of significant achievements and innovations have been delivered in conjunction with the contracted suppliers over the last 12-months.
An integrated single-sign-on portal from QBT that provides agencies with a one-stop-shop to:
Enhancements to the online booking tool that:
Processing Tickets in Credit (TIC) through an automated system which:
In conjunction with AOT, introducing:
There is no secret, but rather building and maintaining effective working relationships with both agencies and suppliers is a key contributor to the success of the Arrangements. Without the support and trust of agencies and their willingness to engage with change, the significant achievements of the Arrangements would not have been realised. Similarly, the cooperation of suppliers and their willingness to understand and meet or exceed the government’s requirements is fundamental to the successes.
For the Department of Finance this means:
To achieve the best outcomes from a travel program:
Understand your organisation’s travel
Opportunities for improvement are reliant on knowing the travel profile of the organisation. An organisation should consult extensively with staff and obtain reporting to understand information such as:
Once this information is known, the areas where improvements can be achieved become much clearer.
Establish a practical policy
To manage travel and the related expenses effectively, it is important to establish and maintain a practical travel policy. The policy should document, for example, the principles and/or rules around:
It is equally important to monitor compliance with the policy through regular reporting. The treatment of non-compliance should also be documented and understood by staff.
Nurture open communication
To help ensure the planned outcomes of a travel program are achieved, staff need to be aware of and understand the program particularly the underpinning policy. At the same time, travel managers need to review the program regularly to confirm that the travel needs of staff are being fulfilled or that modifications are required. Maintaining open communication and consulting with staff through two-way conversations is key to accomplishing the travel objectives of managers and staff.
Don’t Stand Still
Technology in the travel sector is dynamic and constantly evolving. Staff expect the experience of booking travel at work to be the same or better than the experience of booking leisure travel. Challenge suppliers to analyse their technology offerings at regular intervals and establish a clear roadmap for the delivery of improvements and enhancements in the short and medium term.
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