Finding Cheap Travel on the Net

With flight costs likely to go up, and also with the price tag on yearly vacation being at risk of escalating, hard working people will find it more and more hard to acquire cheap travel. Budget travel is vital to that particular all-important break, allowing a person to find a way from it all while not having to be worried about the price tag. The good news is, you can still find a good amount of cheap travel specials to be found on the net. Utilizing the web, you will discover budget travel options easier than ever before!

Web based reserving allows travel operators to slice the middleman, to be able to charge travel a lot more inexpensively. Setting up travel plans using this method ensures that no-one will have to pay extra for the high cost office buildings as well as extensive agency advertising and marketing which will increase the price tag on travel. Web-based providers can provide budget travel shoppers who seem to be willing to perform a portion of the labor on their own, for instance by making use of search engines like Google to search for the budget travel deals that match and fit their particular needs. Should you choose a vacation destination along with the avenues you would like to work with for getting there, you can utilize Internet providers to uncover cheap travel possibilities that are additionally a affordable option for the service provider. You will likely also discover that you like to have more control about organizing your own budget travel, with no one offering up any hard sell or perhaps attempting to convince you actually would prefer to travel some other place (almost certainly with a higher price tag).

The cheap travel selections you will find on the net could work in a number various ways. Often cheap travel opportunities will be listed very low because of the “extras” simply being eliminated. A good example of this can be simply no extras airline carriers, or perhaps low-priced accommodations options grouped together along with cheap travel. Cheap travel selections will often be zeroed in on on a precise demographic, for instance, a lot of travel companies offer you extraordinary affordable vacation spots which may not necessarily interest the public, or perhaps simply by presenting packaged cheap travel within the down time of year. Various companies give discounts to somewhat “undiscovered” exotic destinations.

You can also find the last Minute Specials which may be created in the eleventh hour, making it possible for all the travel suppliers to fill up vacant seats on aircraft as well as accommodations which may otherwise be remain vacant in addition to bringing in zero revenue on their behalf. Consequently reserving on line allows you to benefit from cheap travel promotions perhaps even without having time to arrange as well as investigate your trip. Reserving budget travel on the web is an extremely appealing alternative whenever you consider that making eleventh hour reservations via a conventional travel agency is generally not even close to an inexpensive choice. Companies would certainly prefer to acquire some revenue, when it is significantly reduced, as opposed to end up getting absolutely no earnings whatsoever.

Regardless of whether you are searching for a family group vacation in the sunshine or simply a basic in-town escape all on your own, cheap travel solutions are available for one to discover on the net. Simply go searching and you will be pleased at the sheer numbers of budget travel possibilities open to you. As a result of these cheap travel deals, you are able to quit stressing in regards to the expense and anticipate taking pleasure in perfect getaway!

Some Advice For Buying Cheap Travel Tickets Online

To get the best cheap travel tickets is all about knowing where to look online and other places. It might be time consuming doing all the research needed to find cheap travel tickets but it is time well spent. At some point in your life, you will most likely buy airplane tickets. It might be to go on a business trip, to visit a loved one across the country or just go on a well deserved vacation.

No matter what the reason may be, you are going to have to fly and will probably have to buy the tickets yourself. For a person who has never had to deal with buying airplane tickets, this may sound like a intimidating task but in reality it couldn’t be any easier.

With the invention of the internet, buying travel tickets takes almost no time. There are many websites that do nothing but sell airline tickets and many will sell them to you at a discount. These web sites are the best place to start looking for cheap travel tickets.

The most important thing to remember when buying cheap tickets online is to know your departure dates and times. Make sure you know exactly when you want to leave and where you are going. If you need a return ticket, make sure it is included so you don’t have to buy a return ticket later or you may end up stuck for a day or more.

Most websites let you type in your departure point, where you are going and then lets you choose your travel dates on a calendar. This is very easy to do, even for someone without any internet experience. Another tip is to know all the extra fees that you will be charged and determine if your tickets will be sent to you or if you can just pick them up when you get to the airport. With the invention of the e – ticket, everything is electronic at the airport. Check-in is a breeze with e-tickets.

Having your tickets sent to you can be a real hassle if the mail doesn’t show up for any reason, so it might be best to leave them at your airlines ticket counter. When you arrive at the airport, you just tell them your name, show ID, check your baggage, then you you go!

Always read the fine print before purchasing your cheap travel tickets. You don’t want to have to pay extra, have to wait 10 hours at 4 different airports or spend an eternity to get where you are going. Traveling can be very tiring for some people & now a days it is certainly stressful.

Usually, all sales are final when you buy cheap travel tickets on-line. So, if you make a mistake buying your cheap travel tickets, your usually stuck with what you bought. So be very sure of what you are buying before making the final payment or purchase.

Cheap Travel – Find Out the 3 Things That Guarantee Cheap Travel to Anywhere in the World

I just finished watching a movie and it inspired me to write. The movie is about two young brothers who dream to see the world. They come from a poor family, so they always had their share of doubts – was it possible for them to become wealthy, and live a very nice life style? They often question themselves.

After all the troubles, they grew up to be successful against all odds, and the movie was ended with the two of them having a toast to living their dream on a beautiful Island resort. The movie really connected to me, probably because I was like them.

Like the two brothers, I also had the dream to travel the world, 20 years later, I am a world travel expert. Part of my dream was to travel cheaply, without spending so much money because I didn’t have money then, and now I could write a book about how to travel cheap. For this, I am truly grateful, as a sign of my gratitude, I want to share my little knowledge of how to travel cheap with you, and every other person who reads this blog. It is a giving world.

Truly, cheap travel is not much of a big deal. Even if you normally fly economy, and you still want to get a discount on your plane ticket. There are a lot of ways you can achieve this goal, but people really don’t look into these various options. Instead, they go and spend a lot of money on plane tickets, and high priced luxury accommodation. I don’t blame them though, they are either not open to options, don’t know where to look, or they don’t even have the time to find discounts on their travel budget.

The first thing to do when looking for a discount is to research. Make a list of all the airlines you know, and get information on their rates. Note those rates down. Also consider finding available flights of different airlines that are going to your travel point and note them down too. Then from that information you have, sort the prices until you get the cheapest 5. From there, you can pick the one that you are comfortable with.

Another super tactic I use is to check for special discounts or travel packages. There are a whole number of discounts and promotions on different airlines out there, all you have to do is find them. You can do that by searching good old Google. Just type in the keywords ‘Travel Packages’ or ‘Travel Discounts’, and you’ll get an awful amount of data. Also search offline by visiting airline outlets, and by asking travel agents. You will never know the amount of information you can get from these two entities.

My last suggestion is something I picked up recently, and that is travel clubs. To me, this is the most secure way to travel cheap. All you have to do is join this club for a relatively minimum cost (sometimes a one time only fee) and boom! You get to travel very cheaply for the whole of your life, without having to deal with the hassles of finding cheap travel ways yourself.

All in all, if you use the information above, then you will surely start enjoying cheap travel. Make sure to do proper research, and if possible, join travel clubs. You won’t regret it. Good luck with this beautiful gift called life.

Using Gateway Cities to Find Cheap Travel to Europe

Cheap travel to Europe is not a new idea. It’s likely much more ancient than you or I know. But before we enter the long annals of cheap travel to Europe (and fret not, it’s going to be a cold day in a hot place before you or I want to, and it surely won’t be this article), you want to learn how to get to Europe as reasonably as you can, correct? And when you do that, you won’t be OK to see it suddenly get pricey, so you’re searching for cheap travel IN Europe, too correct? No, you’re not too hard to live with. I’m still in agreement with you, as are many of youth and older elders (“older” is nothing more than a polite way of saying old.). But you will to have to put in some effort to uncover the deals, with aid from people like yours truly on your voyage.

The first requirement in getting cheap travel to Europe is getting cheap transportation there. I assume (knowing what happens when that happens), that you come from North America So we’ll begin there. I may get hate letters from Singapore to Auckland for this mistake. BTW, if you are searching for cheap travel to Europe from South America, though there are exceptions which complete every rule, you will likely find a goodly number of deals if you fly to North America first, so please wait on the hate mail for two days or more, while you look over your options.

Season of year is helpful for getting cheap travel to Europe. If you don’t have to go during the summer months, you can almost always find it at a cheaper price. Also, flexibility of days and even months will enable you to find and get seriously cheap flights to Europe. If you must go a certain day or even week, seeing this may make you lose hope. Sorry.

I think (so I’m not assuming again) you are not planning to join a freighter crew and get to Europe working the slow boat, so we are most likely talking cheap flights to Europe. Cheap travel to Europe often requires you to go ideally from a gateway city or probably through one. Now be cautious here. Cheap Travel to Europe can seem good at the point of the low sticker price. But slow down. A lot of airlines (particularly European airlines) fix their fares so that it’s only a little more to go from your airport than from a gateway airport. SO if you need to go by car bus to a distant airport and then even transfer to the airport by bus or taxi (NO!), pay fuel, tolls etc., your cheap travel to Europe will become a pricey trip at best, and a nightmare possibly (leaving at 2:00 in the morning to drive five hours is not a party).

I am all for sacrifice-but only if you gain real savings! So if you’re family or others are paying all the fuel and incidentals, food and lodging or you get a cheap bus ticket, once again, you need to get the calculator and figure it out for yourself. It’s up to you. You are looking for cheap travel to Europe, meaning helps you save hard-earned pennies and in this case, we’re going to try to find a cheap flight to Europe that will offset your expenses and difficulties and be the cheapest all around travel to Europe, right? And once you get there, we’re going to continue to find cheap travel in Europe.

Where will you begin the journey? This is an important detail in getting cheap travel to Europe (or anywhere). I’ve mentioned gateway airports, but distance dictates a lot of how low you can go to get Cheap Travel to Europe. Isn’t Los Angeles a fantastic gateway city? Sure is. Is it going to be easier to find cheap travel to Europe from LA than it would be from New York City? Once in a blue moon or not even then, because NYC is over four thousand miles closer to our destination! Is L.A. going to facilitate cheap travel to Europe more than Omaha, Nebraska? Most likely. Well, cheap travel to Europe, as everything in life will have weird days where this rule will prove not true, so do not come crying (or mocking) if you get the rare exception, if you are from around Omaha and manage to get super cheap travel to Europe, FANTASTIC! We will be glad (and please let people in on it in the comments). OK, so what to do if you aren’t near a reasonable airport and you insist on cheap travel to Europe? Think about who you know. Do you have loved ones in a gateway city? Maybe you can “just happen” to go visit and add in your departure to the deal? They will also most likely give you a free trip to and from the airport and you don’t have to pay bus or worse yet, taxi!

So you are flying in and out of key cheapo airports in North America, why wouldn’t you do the same on the other side of the pond for cheap travel to Europe? You will! So find gateway cities in Europe too.
Now you’re asleep, gone or saying: “Ok, tell me the gateway departure cities already that mean: Cheap Travel to Europe!”

Another warning here: This stuff isn’t an exact art! If you have any scruples, though, start with the big cities near you preferably to the east. So like Los Angeles on the west coast, as I said, it will be between L.A. San Francisco, Portland and Seattle (maybe San Diego). Then try Phoenix, Salt Lake, Denver, Dallas or Houston, KC, MSP, MN., St. Louis, Chi-town, Cincinnati, Cleveland East coast: NYC, Philly, Wash. DC, Charlotte, Atlanta, and Orlando or Miami. Don’t forget! This isn’t brain surgery and there is more than one way to skin a cat. There’s no rule without exceptions and your creativity may save you hundreds, perhaps (though unlikely) 1000′s of dollars! Keep trying and don’t lose hope if you aren’t near a listed city! I just blew those out of the top of my head. There is still hope for you to find cheap travel to Europe.

Maybe you are thinking, “So a hub of the airlines.” Sadly (yes, those beeps!) this is actually not always the most reasonable! in fact it’s often MORE expensive to go in and out of airline hubs, even though they surely have several empty seats on the large number of connecting flights that people are taking there anyway. Maybe this is why they’re going bankrupt?! In cases where they are cheaper, it’s usually a company which is NOT using that city as a hub example: cheap travel to Europe from Cleveland on non-Continental planes. United recently, for example! I know.

Finding Cheap Travel Online

With airline fares threatening to rise, plus with the cost of going on vacation being in danger of increasing, hard working families can find it increasingly difficult to find affordable solutions. Cheap travel is essential to that much needed break, enabling you to get away from it all without having to worry about the cost. Fortunately, there are still plenty of cheap travel deals to be found online. By using the internet, you can find cheap travel solutions more easily than ever!

Online booking enables travel operators to cut out the middleman, making it possible to price travel much more cheaply. Making travel arrangements this way means that no-one has to pay for the high street offices or massive agency advertising which drive up the cost of travel. Online services can offer cheap travel to customers who are prepared to do some of the work themselves, for example by using search engines to find the cheap travel solutions which suit their requirements.

If you decide the destination and the routes you want to use to get there, you can use online services to find cheap travel options which are also a cheap solution for the provider. You’ll probably also find that you enjoy having more control over managing your travel, with nobody giving you the hard sell or trying to persuade you that you might really prefer to travel somewhere else (probably at a higher cost).

The cheap travel solutions that can be found online can work in a number of ways. Sometimes travel is cheap because it has been stripped down to the basics – no-frills airlines are an example of this, and cheap accommodation solutions are often packaged alongside cheap travel. It’s also possible to offer cheap travel options by targeting them at very specific customers, for instance by offering unusual cheap travel destinations which might not appeal to the mass market.

This means that you can enjoy cheap travel whilst doing something a little more unusual – there are many cheap travel options which can take you to exotic locations which are relatively undiscovered. Other online companies can offer cheap travel because website bookings can be made at the last minute, enabling them to fill up space on planes and in hotels which would otherwise be left empty (but would still cost their owners money). This means that internet booking can enable you to enjoy cheap travel even if you don’t have much time in which to organise your vacation. This makes booking cheap travel online a practical option, considering that booking through traditional travel agencies at the last minute is usually far from a cheap option.

Cheap travel options are there for you on the internet, whether you’re looking for a quiet city break by yourself or a family holiday in the sun. You will be pleasantly surprised at the cheap travel options that can be found online. You no longer have to worry about the costs of a vacation, thanks to the plethora of cheap travel options available to you on the internet.

What Travel Agents Need to Know About Corporate Travel Today

This is rightly named as the age of traveler-centricity and with the evolution of the new era of personalized travel; it is leading to research and development of a host of new so-called intelligent services. The command-and-control perspectives of traveling have changed a lot from the past and the focus has shifted more on the traveler and the productivity of each trip. It has become essential to maintain that the travelers have the greatest return on investment on each trip. New generations of young employees and managers, who have been growing up and dwelling in a digital age, are moving up the ranks as travelers. It has become essential to recognize the need for greater flexibility acknowledging that the employees who travel on corporate trips also consider a percentage of their trip to be a leisure outlet. With increasing globalization and rise in companies sending their staff overseas to network and connect with their offshore prospects/customers/suppliers, corporate travel is a highly profitable tourism segment. Before we talk about how tourism companies can better cater to business travelers, let us first look at why they prefer to use specialized corporate agencies over traditional agents

Why do businesses use Corporate Travel Agencies?

This might be the most basic question for a travel agency as to why they need to use agencies specializing in corporate travel when there are plenty of regular travel agents in the market. Here is the importance of corporate travel agencies who have online systems which allow business travelers access to their complete itinerary.

The following information is at the fingertips of the CTAs:-

full business itinerary details
up-to-date tracking details of flights (including delays or rescheduling)
transparent details about additional costs such as baggage fees or in-flight fees
travel alerts, if any, in the destined area
complete and up-to-date details about the visa procurement policies and identification required
currency requirement and conversion rates

What do corporate clients expect from Corporate Travel Agencies?

Negotiated Fares

The Corporate Agencies tend to have tie-ups with hotels, car rentals, flights etc. giving them access to lower fares which can be used only by the frequent business travelers. Discounted prices are not the only advantage though as they also offer flight upgrades, room upgrades, and VIP check-in lines as required.

In-depth information about the travel industry

Corporate travel agents have access to many travel resources and most importantly, quickly, than any other leisure travel agent. Additional information helps to make the business trips convenient and comfortable.

Changes in Itinerary

When an airline ticket needs to get rescheduled or cancelled, chances are the airline or the online service provider will charge lofty fees. When booking with a corporate travel agent, most of the times schedule changes can be done at zero or minimal extra charges.

Viable emergency contacts

It is important for the business travelers to reach the correct person at the need of trouble. Corporate travel agents have the experience and professionalism to relieve stress for both the traveler and the company.

What you need to consider as corporate travel increases?

Business Travel Barometer reported that corporate travel is witnessing an accelerated growth. However, when poorly managed, it may be no longer an advantage to companies and may, in fact become a burden. There are some factors which the corporations and CTAs must consider to get the best out of the time spent traveling.

Adopting a travel policy

The corporate must define a travel policy which is applicable to and respected by travelers at all levels. This policy should be used to establish the standards which will help to track the improvement of business travel. It will eventually help to reduce the costs of the entire package.

Do not limit the traveler’s autonomy

The management is responsible for budgeting the travel policy which helps to improve cost management however, it is also essential to give a degree of autonomy to the traveler. The policy should be flexible enough to allow the employee to adapt the trip as per the situation.

Traveler’s security should be a major concern

Business travelers need to have security in place. The company needs to stick to its definition of standards to ensure the employee’s integrity. The CTAs should have reliable partners (travel insurance, airlines, hotel chains etc.).

Mobility and automation

To optimize time and ease the processes, the administration of management platforms should have automated processes. This means they should adopt mobile solutions where search options, travel alerts, ticket reservations etc. can be accessed quickly, easily and on the go.

Corporate Travel Trends in 2016

Corporate travel trends tend to change regularly. 2016 has also not been any different and the travel management companies (TMCs) and corporate travel agencies (CTAs) are quite focused to provide steady if not strong axis all over. A growing MICE sector, investments in mobile and big data and enhanced focus on duty of care are some of their areas of focus.

Rising prices

The consolidated buzzword among global suppliers, airfares, hotel rates etc. is the rising fares. It is sometimes the move of the suppliers to generate discounts which encourage travel if there is a strong decline in demand. A positive 2016 world economy has been bringing an increase in air fares of a few percentage points, hotels are expected to see 4%-6% rise in average global rates and the competition will remain moderate in the car rental services.

Duty of care

Risk management is one of the major points of emphasis for corporations. Corporate customers are allowing new policies and improved technologies to monitor employees’ location in case of an emergency, especially when they are travelling to foreign destinations. For instance, Concur Risk Messaging helps to identify the travelers moving around in the world and alerts them with alternate travel arrangement as and when needed.

Focusing on MICE

Meetings industry is a major growing sector and the corporate travel trend is developing on it. The corporate travel agencies should better start aligning the various meeting procurement methodologies with its transient travel sourcing. One of the ways could be to broaden the variety of meeting services by incorporating incentive trips within it.

Investing in technology

A sharper focus on increasing value and becoming more traveler-centric can be done by bringing in mobile friendly technologies. Mobile and big data are definitely the two most significant technological investments which any corporate travel agency must focus to make their platform more appealing.

Business travel analysis after Brexit

Following Brexit, ACTE and CAPA shared their speculations. According to them, the greatest short-term effects on the travel industry will come from the weakening of the pound against other world currencies. Greeley Koch, executive director for the Association of Corporate Travel Executives said that the business travel industry will trend on currency fluctuations; with some companies taking advantage of the weaker pound and traveling more, while others may withhold business travel until world markets find their own level.

Impact of terrorism on corporate travelers

Travel policy makers and administrators need to be guided by rising terrorism scare. For executives and staff undertaking travel on behalf of businesses, the travel agents and corporate travel agencies (CTAs) should prove the reassurance for their safety through the travel policies. It is more than likely that the surveys conducted over corporate travelers reflect the general concern of the global business travelers about the spate of terrorism. However, there is no denying the fact that terrorist threat is changing the patterns of business travel. The key impact of this is to keep in mind that the companies providing travel services for business travelers need to enhance their focus on security and the associated risks in delivering the services to corporate clients. According to a recent finding, travel managers have higher estimation of their policy’s effectiveness in addressing risk compared to skeptical business travelers.

Concluding

Although the corporate travel sector has continued to progress, there are a plethora of challenges faced by the industry. A rapidly changing consumer market, the emergence of new business models, the impact of technology, man-made and natural crises are some of the fulcrum points that need to be considered before planning corporate trips.

Base Tendriling Travel Expenses

As business travel expenses nose upward, companies are realizing that better cost-management techniques can make a difference

US. corporate travel expenses rocketed to more than $143 billion in 1994, according to American Express’ most recent survey on business travel management. Private-sector employers spend an estimated $2,484 per employee on travel and entertainment, a 17 percent increase over the past four years.

Corporate T&E costs, now the third-largest controllable expense behind sales and data-processing costs, are under new scrutiny. Corporations are realizing that even a savings of 1 percent or 2 percent can translate into millions of dollars added to their bottom line.

Savings of that order are sure to get management’s attention, which is a requirement for this type of project. Involvement begins with understanding and evaluating the components of T&E management in order to control and monitor it more effectively.

Hands-on management includes assigning responsibility for travel management, implementing a quality-measurement system for travel services used, and writing and distributing a formal travel policy. Only 64 percent of U.S. corporations have travel policies.

Even with senior management’s support, the road to savings is rocky-only one in three companies has successfully instituted an internal program that will help cut travel expenses, and the myriad aspects of travel are so overwhelming, most companies don’t know where to start. “The industry of travel is based on information,” says Steven R. Schoen, founder and CEO of The Global Group Inc. “Until such time as a passenger actually sets foot on the plane, they’ve [only] been purchasing information.”

If that’s the case, information technology seems a viable place to hammer out those elusive, but highly sought-after, savings. “Technological innovations in the business travel industry are allowing firms to realize the potential of automation to control and reduce indirect [travel] costs,” says Roger H. Ballou, president of the Travel Services Group USA of American Express. “In addition, many companies are embarking on quality programs that include sophisticated process improvement and reengineering efforts designed to substantially improve T&E management processes and reduce indirect costs.”

As companies look to technology to make potential savings a reality, they can get very creative about the methods they employ.

The Great Leveler

Centralized reservation systems were long the exclusive domain of travel agents and other industry professionals. But all that changed in November 1992 when a Department of Transportation ruling allowed the general public access to systems such as Apollo and SABRE. Travel-management software, such as TripPower and TravelNet, immediately sprang up, providing corporations insight into where their T&E dollars are being spent.

The software tracks spending trends by interfacing with the corporation’s database and providing access to centralized reservation systems that provide immediate reservation information to airlines, hotels and car rental agencies. These programs also allow users to generate computerized travel reports on cost savings with details on where discounts were obtained, hotel and car usage and patterns of travel between cities. Actual data gives corporations added leverage when negotiating discounts with travel suppliers.

“When you own the information, you don’t have to go back to square one every time you decide to change agencies,” says Mary Savovie Stephens, travel manager for biotech giant Chiron Corp.

Sybase Inc., a client/server software leader with an annual T&E budget of more than $15 million, agrees. “Software gives us unprecedented visibility into how employees are spending their travel dollars and better leverage to negotiate with travel service suppliers,” says Robert Lerner, director of credit and corporate travel services for Sybase Inc. “We have better access to data, faster, in a real-time environment, which is expected to bring us big savings in T&E. Now we have control over our travel information and no longer have to depend exclusively on the agencies and airlines.”

The cost for this privilege depends on the volume of business. One-time purchases of travel-management software can run from under $100 to more than $125,000. Some software providers will accommodate smaller users by selling software piecemeal for $5 to $12 per booked trip, still a significant savings from the $50 industry norm per transaction.

No More Tickets

Paperless travel is catching on faster than the paperless office ever did as both service providers and consumers work together to reduce ticket prices for business travelers. Perhaps the most cutting-edge of the advances is “ticketless” travel, which almost all major airlines are testing.

In the meantime, travel providers and agencies are experimenting with new technologies to enable travelers to book travel services via the Internet, e-mail and unattended ticketing kiosks. Best Western International, Hyatt Hotels and several other major hotel chains market on the Internet. These services reduce the need for paper and offer better service and such peripheral benefits as increased efficiency, improved tracking of travel expenses and trends, and cost reduction.

Dennis Egolf, CFO of the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Louisville, Ky., realized that the medical center’s decentralized location, a quarter-mile from the hospital, made efficiency difficult. “We were losing production time and things got lost,” he says. “Every memo had to be hand-carried for approval, and we required seven different copies of each travel order.” As a result, Egolf tried an off-the-shelf, paper-reduction software package designed for the federal government.

The software allows the hospital to manage travel on-line, from tracking per-diem allowances and calculating expenses to generating cash advance forms and authorizing reimbursement vouchers. The software also lets the hospital keep a running account of its travel expenses and its remaining travel budget.

“Today, for all practical purposes, the system is paperless,” says Egolf. The software has helped the hospital reduce document processing time by 93 percent. “The original goal focused on managing employee travel without paper,” he says. “We have achieved that goal, in part due to the efforts of the staff and in part due to the accuracy of the software.”

With only a $6,000 investment, the hospital saved $70 each employee trip and saved almost half of its $200,000 T&E budget through the paper-reduction program.

Out There

Consolidation of corporate travel arrangements by fewer agencies has been a growing trend since 1982. Nearly three out of four companies now make travel plans for their business locations through a single agency as opposed to 51 percent in 1988. Two major benefits of agency consolidation are the facilitation of accounting and T&E budgeting, as well as leverage in negotiating future travel discounts.

A major technological advance that allows this consolidation trend to flourish is the introduction of satellite ticket printers (STPs). Using STPs enables a travel agency to consolidate all operations to one home office, and still send all necessary tickets to various locations instantly via various wire services. As the term implies, the machinery prints out airline tickets on-site immediately, eliminating delivery charges.

For London Fog, STPs are a blessing. London Fog’s annual T&E budget of more than $15 million is split equally between its two locations in Eldersburg, Md., and New York City. Each location purchases the same number of tickets, so equal access to ticketing from their agency is a must. With an STP in their two locations, the company services both offices with one agency in Baltimore. Each office has access to immediate tickets and still manages to save by not having to pay courier and express mail charges that can range up to $15 for each of the more than 500 tickets each purchases annually.

Conde Nast Publications’ annual T&E budget of more than $20 million is allocated among its locations in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, New York and Detroit. Since 1994, travel arrangements have been handled by a centralized agency, Advanced Travel Management in New York City, by installing an STP in each of these five locations. In addition to increased efficiency due to consolidation, Conde Nast now has the ability to change travel plans at a moment’s notice and have new tickets in hand instantly.

The real benefit is that the machines are owned and maintained by the travel agency., so there is no cost to the company. Due to the major expense involved, however, STPs remain an option only for major ticket purchasers. “STPs are a viable option in this process for any location that purchases more than $500,000 per year in tickets,” says Shoen.

As airfare averages 43 percent of any company’s T&E expenses, savings obtainable through the various uses of technology have become dramatic. For example, the ability of corporations to collect and analyze their own travel trends has led to the creation of net-fare purchasing-negotiating a price between a corporation and an airline to purchase tickets that does not include the added expenses of commissions, overrides, transaction fees, agency transaction fees and other discounts.

Although most major U.S. carriers publicly proclaim that they don’t negotiate corporate discounts below published market fares, the American Express survey on business travel management found that 38 percent of U.S. companies had access to, or already had implemented, negotiated airline discounts. The availability and mechanics of these arrangements vary widely by carrier.

What’s the Price?

Fred Swaffer, transportation manager for Hewlett-Packard and a strong advocate of the net-pricing system, has pioneered the concept of fee-based pricing with travel-management companies under contract with H-P. He states that H-P, which spends more than $528 million per year on T&E, plans to have all air travel based on net-fare pricing. “At the present time, we have several net fares at various stages of agreement,” he says. “These fares are negotiated with the airlines at the corporate level, then trickle down to each of our seven geographical regions.”

Frank Kent, Western regional manager for United Airlines, concurs: “United Airlines participates in corporate volume discounting, such as bulk ticket purchases, but not with net pricing. I have yet to see one net-fare agreement that makes sense to us. We’re not opposed to it, but we just don’t understand it right now.”

Kent stresses, “Airlines should approach corporations with long-term strategic relationships rather than just discounts. We would like to see ourselves committed to a corporation rather than just involved.”

As business travel expenses nose upward, companies are realizing that better cost-management techniques can make a difference.

US. corporate travel expenses rocketed to more than $143 billion in 1994, according to American Express’ most recent survey on business travel management. Private-sector employers spend an estimated $2,484 per employee on travel and entertainment, a 17 percent increase over the past four years.

Corporate T&E costs, now the third-largest controllable expense behind sales and data-processing costs, are under new scrutiny. Corporations are realizing that even a savings of 1 percent or 2 percent can translate into millions of dollars added to their bottom line.

Savings of that order are sure to get management’s attention, which is a requirement for this type of project. Involvement begins with understanding and evaluating the components of T&E management in order to control and monitor it more effectively.

Hands-on management includes assigning responsibility for travel management, implementing a quality-measurement system for travel services used, and writing and distributing a formal travel policy. Only 64 percent of U.S. corporations have travel policies.

Even with senior management’s support, the road to savings is rocky-only one in three companies has successfully instituted an internal program that will help cut travel expenses, and the myriad aspects of travel are so overwhelming, most companies don’t know where to start. “The industry of travel is based on information,” says Steven R. Schoen, founder and CEO of The Global Group Inc. “Until such time as a passenger actually sets foot on the plane, they’ve [only] been purchasing information.”

If that’s the case, information technology seems a viable place to hammer out those elusive, but highly sought-after, savings. “Technological innovations in the business travel industry are allowing firms to realize the potential of automation to control and reduce indirect [travel] costs,” says Roger H. Ballou, president of the Travel Services Group USA of American Express. “In addition, many companies are embarking on quality programs that include sophisticated process improvement and reengineering efforts designed to substantially improve T&E management processes and reduce indirect costs.”

As companies look to technology to make potential savings a reality, they can get very creative about the methods they employ.

The Great Leveler

Centralized reservation systems were long the exclusive domain of travel agents and other industry professionals. But all that changed in November 1992 when a Department of Transportation ruling allowed the general public access to systems such as Apollo and SABRE. Travel-management software, such as TripPower and TravelNet, immediately sprang up, providing corporations insight into where their T&E dollars are being spent.

The software tracks spending trends by interfacing with the corporation’s database and providing access to centralized reservation systems that provide immediate reservation information to airlines, hotels and car rental agencies. These programs also allow users to generate computerized travel reports on cost savings with details on where discounts were obtained, hotel and car usage and patterns of travel between cities. Actual data gives corporations added leverage when negotiating discounts with travel suppliers.

“When you own the information, you don’t have to go back to square one every time you decide to change agencies,” says Mary Savovie Stephens, travel manager for biotech giant Chiron Corp.

Sybase Inc., a client/server software leader with an annual T&E budget of more than $15 million, agrees. “Software gives us unprecedented visibility into how employees are spending their travel dollars and better leverage to negotiate with travel service suppliers,” says Robert Lerner, director of credit and corporate travel services for Sybase Inc. “We have better access to data, faster, in a real-time environment, which is expected to bring us big savings in T&E. Now we have control over our travel information and no longer have to depend exclusively on the agencies and airlines.”

The cost for this privilege depends on the volume of business. One-time purchases of travel-management software can run from under $100 to more than $125,000. Some software providers will accommodate smaller users by selling software piecemeal for $5 to $12 per booked trip, still a significant savings from the $50 industry norm per transaction.

No More Tickets

Paperless travel is catching on faster than the paperless office ever did as both service providers and consumers work together to reduce ticket prices for business travelers. Perhaps the most cutting-edge of the advances is “ticketless” travel, which almost all major airlines are testing.

In the meantime, travel providers and agencies are experimenting with new technologies to enable travelers to book travel services via the Internet, e-mail and unattended ticketing kiosks. Best Western International, Hyatt Hotels and several other major hotel chains market on the Internet. These services reduce the need for paper and offer better service and such peripheral benefits as increased efficiency, improved tracking of travel expenses and trends, and cost reduction.

Dennis Egolf, CFO of the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Louisville, Ky., realized that the medical center’s decentralized location, a quarter-mile from the hospital, made efficiency difficult. “We were losing production time and things got lost,” he says. “Every memo had to be hand-carried for approval, and we required seven different copies of each travel order.” As a result, Egolf tried an off-the-shelf, paper-reduction software package designed for the federal government.

The software allows the hospital to manage travel on-line, from tracking per-diem allowances and calculating expenses to generating cash advance forms and authorizing reimbursement vouchers. The software also lets the hospital keep a running account of its travel expenses and its remaining travel budget.

“Today, for all practical purposes, the system is paperless,” says Egolf. The software has helped the hospital reduce document processing time by 93 percent. “The original goal focused on managing employee travel without paper,” he says. “We have achieved that goal, in part due to the efforts of the staff and in part due to the accuracy of the software.”

With only a $6,000 investment, the hospital saved $70 each employee trip and saved almost half of its $200,000 T&E budget through the paper-reduction program.

Out There

Consolidation of corporate travel arrangements by fewer agencies has been a growing trend since 1982. Nearly three out of four companies now make travel plans for their business locations through a single agency as opposed to 51 percent in 1988. Two major benefits of agency consolidation are the facilitation of accounting and T&E budgeting, as well as leverage in negotiating future travel discounts.

A major technological advance that allows this consolidation trend to flourish is the introduction of satellite ticket printers (STPs). Using STPs enables a travel agency to consolidate all operations to one home office, and still send all necessary tickets to various locations instantly via various wire services. As the term implies, the machinery prints out airline tickets on-site immediately, eliminating delivery charges.

For London Fog, STPs are a blessing. London Fog’s annual T&E budget of more than $15 million is split equally between its two locations in Eldersburg, Md., and New York City. Each location purchases the same number of tickets, so equal access to ticketing from their agency is a must. With an STP in their two locations, the company services both offices with one agency in Baltimore. Each office has access to immediate tickets and still manages to save by not having to pay courier and express mail charges that can range up to $15 for each of the more than 500 tickets each purchases annually.

Conde Nast Publications’ annual T&E budget of more than $20 million is allocated among its locations in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, New York and Detroit. Since 1994, travel arrangements have been handled by a centralized agency, Advanced Travel Management in New York City, by installing an STP in each of these five locations. In addition to increased efficiency due to consolidation, Conde Nast now has the ability to change travel plans at a moment’s notice and have new tickets in hand instantly.

The real benefit is that the machines are owned and maintained by the travel agency., so there is no cost to the company. Due to the major expense involved, however, STPs remain an option only for major ticket purchasers. “STPs are a viable option in this process for any location that purchases more than $500,000 per year in tickets,” says Shoen.

As airfare averages 43 percent of any company’s T&E expenses, savings obtainable through the various uses of technology have become dramatic. For example, the ability of corporations to collect and analyze their own travel trends has led to the creation of net-fare purchasing-negotiating a price between a corporation and an airline to purchase tickets that does not include the added expenses of commissions, overrides, transaction fees, agency transaction fees and other discounts.

Although most major U.S. carriers publicly proclaim that they don’t negotiate corporate discounts below published market fares, the American Express survey on business travel management found that 38 percent of U.S. companies had access to, or already had implemented, negotiated airline discounts. The availability and mechanics of these arrangements vary widely by carrier.