Is fragmentation in corporate travel playing havoc with your policy?

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EuanMcNeil_HS.jpgCorporates, suppliers and travel management companies (TMCs) need to work together to help improve transparency and reduce the impact of fragmentation on costs and efficiencies.

What is fragmentation? It's when staff try to book travel within their travel policy but are forced to access different sites to source that travel other than the company's preferred procurement channels and processes.

Why is it a problem? Because even though the traveller is booking within policy, procurement and travel managers have little oversight over these types of travel purchases and any efficiencies they have spent time implementing to ensure full oversight over their travel spend are undermined. Our recent survey, in conjunction with the African Business Travel Association (ABTA) highlighted that most travel managers believe effective visibility of data to be very or extremely important in their role.

Is fragmentation going away? Unfortunately not as airlines, for example, look to introduce ancillaries and GDS booking surcharges. Content fragmentation is very much here to stay and travel managers will have to see it as a day-to-day challenge that will need to be managed in future. What's more, it's likely to add costs to your travel programme through inefficiencies, reduced productivity and new technological investments that will need to be made as a result.

To manage fragmentation in future, corporates need to improve the visibility over their travel programme, says Euan McNeil, FCM Travel Solutions General Manager. "For one, corporates should turn to their suppliers and encourage them to make their full content and services available through the tools or platforms they advise their travellers to book through.

"When travel bookers and travellers are forced to work on multiple platforms to find and book their travel, it's just another hurdle to ensuring that they comply with a travel policy. If it's not possible to integrate all content, the corporate will need to decide whether the value that supplier brings supersedes the negative impact of non-integration."

As McNeil explains, with fragmentation comes a great deal of manual intervention and time. "The consequences on productivity are also clear. Your staff will be spending time they could be spending on strategic tasks, on tasks that would have been simple through an online booking tool had all the content been at their disposal."

This is where your Travel Management Company partnership is critical, says McNeil. "Ask your TMC to share what integrated technology suites they offer that deliver on your company's travel needs, and how these fulfil a specific need to avoid content fragmentation where possible.

"FCM Connect, our integrated technology eco-system, gives companies access to a range of leading global and online booking tools. Travellers and travel bookers can easily plan, book and purchase complete travel itineraries within a company's guidelines, with access to an unrivalled choice of air, hotel, car and transfer options customised to suit any travel policy."

Important for travel managers to understand is that no matter how sophisticated their travel programme, or how strictly they are enforced, there will always be a certain amount of fragmentation.

However, in addition to mitigating the sources of fragmentation, it is essential for corporates to have their finger on the pulse on where likely sources of fragmentation could arise so that they can make the right business decisions.

For more information on technology specialising in travel, contact FCM Travel Solutions.

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