Why Now is the Perfect Time to Take Your Travel Programme Global

WBJ 2020 Book of Lists It’s an understatement to say that the past two years have been extremely difficult for business travel with Covid-19 restrictions challenging travel departments like never before. But every cloud has a silver lining, and the pandemic has reaffirmed the true value that a global Travel Management Company (TMC) can offer.

So why would you choose this moment to globalise your travel programme? It might seem too daunting and one to throw in the “too hard” bucket or you may simply decide it’s best to leave it until a more stable period sometime in the future.

But like many things, globalising your programme isn’t as difficult as it may first appear and the advantages once the process has been completed are numerous: it will give you true visibility of your travel patterns and spending, improve duty of care for your travellers, increase compliance with policy and - perhaps most importantly - lower travel costs at a time of surging global inflation.

That’s not to say the process is always going to be plain sailing, particularly for organisations with multiple markets around the world who are all using their own local TMCs and travel agencies, with all the complications that arrangement brings.

Choosing the right TMC partner

These factors make choosing the right TMC partner crucial to guide you successfully through the globalisation process – this is where Omega World Travel can help.

With over 50 years’ experience in international corporate travel, powered by GlobalStar Travel Management (a worldwide travel management company owned and managed by leading local market experts across the globe), Omega World Travel provides multinational expertise and knowledge together with a unique understanding of the local market nuances that form an important part of travel programme consolidation.

One organisation we have recently helped to successfully go through the process of globalising its travel programme is Petrofac, which supplies services to the energy industries.

Petrofac, which is headquartered in the UK, previously had a “fragmented” travel programme with its offices in 30 countries being serviced by more than 17 TMCs, including 10 different travel agencies in India alone.

Stephanie Rothman Stephanie Rothman, Petrofac’s global travel manager, said: “Our programme was fragmented and we knew a global programme was the key in gaining full visibility to understand where the opportunities were to save costs, streamline and automate processes, and increase efficiencies.

“We had no consistent operational travel booking or approval structures across the business. We wanted to introduce self-service for travellers in high-volume locations to increase transparency of travel costs and save money. Additionally, we wanted an efficient, single platform approval process to be used globally, enabling same day approvals for all in policy trips.”

This meant the company was looking for a flexible and open-minded TMC partner when it went to tender, and this is where Omega came into its own. “Omega World Travel and GlobalStar came to the meeting with an open and agile mindset,” recalled Rothman. “They really sought to understand what we wanted and did not try to pigeonhole us by saying: this is how it must be done. We had the ability to make a significant amount decisions about how we wanted to automate processes and increase efficiencies.

“This flexible approach was so critical in making the project a success. They helped us to build processes to suit the structure of our business.”

Reaping the benefits

Of course, successfully rolling out a global travel programme is only the first part of the process – ultimately, it’s the final results that count and will catch management’s attention.

In Petrofac’s case, these results have been compelling with the globalisation of the programme delivering 12% in savings over the 3-year contract period on travel spend, as well as increasing policy compliance to a hugely impressive 98% and achieving an average of 80% online adoption.

Other benefits have included giving the company full visibility of travel spend across all markets and access to reporting tools capable of drilling down into individual bookings, when necessary.

Francesco Deluca Francesco Deluca, Regional Director EMEA at Omega World Travel, said: “We were delighted to work so closely with Petrofac on the globalisation of their travel programme. We know how daunting it can be for travel managers to take on this kind of project, but we are here to make the process easier and use our change management expertise to ensure success for all stakeholders involved. We always come into these situations with a completely open mind. We want to understand your objectives and will then take a flexible approach to ensure we help you to achieve them.

“We are not looking to suggest certain software or products if they don’t suit your organisation and will never insist that you do things in a certain way if that’s not the right way to go for you. We believe that an unbiased and collaborative approach is always going to create better results. In our experience leading technology solutions must be matched by great people sitting behind the scenes focusing on delivering continuous value and building trust.”

Helen Mennis Helen Menniss, Vice President, Global Account Management at GlobalStar, said: “This successful globalisation of a travel programme shows the advantages of working closely with one of our leading members, Omega World Travel. It also emphasises the strength of our network and our knowledge of local market nuances.”

Omega World Travel is independently owned and one of the world’s largest travel companies with offices in the UK, USA, the Middle East and Asia. For 50 years, Omega has been offering exceptional travel management solutions to the global corporate market. Celebrating 50 YearsContinuous investment in technology and human capital allows us to streamline, consolidate and reduce our clients’ travel budgets with emphasis on value, process efficiencies and traveller security.

With a significant multinational footprint, GlobalStar Travel Management now operates in more than 2,500 locations in over 55 countries across the globe. All members are dedicated to providing consistent service levels and cohesive solutions around the world. The network of hand-selected, highly experience and skilled travel management companies is ideally placed to help with globalising a travel programme, offering the ideal blend of local knowledge and expertise combined with GlobalStar’s ever-growing global reach.

Updated 10/04/20