The Benefits of Understanding All International Air Travel Policies

Are you preparing for going through a business conference or going for a trip out of the country? In fact, it’s not at all just recommended that you do, it is required that you do. Not learning all of the international air travel principles could land you in a considerable amount of problems.

When it comes to air travel regulations, quite a few individuals, possibly even you, automatically consider staying in-flight. While there are in-flight travel regulations that you should adhere to, you’ll find additionally other rules. These kinds of additional regulations are ones which work with in all airports, as well as international airports. Since you will arrive at the airport first, prior to actually boarding the airplane, it is recommended that you 1st familiarize yourself with these typical air travel guidelines.

As recently mentioned, there are a variety of airport terminal policies that are in all airports, despite of whether those airports are international airports or even domestic airports. These regulations normally consist of a number of forbidden objects, the screening process of all suitcases, the removing of your shoes, and the screening of persons. Along with these airport travel procedures, which in turn can be encountered in almost all airports in the United states, you can find several air travel principles that only affect international airports.

The top procedure which you should stick to at an international airport is distinguishing who you are. Given that airline authorities and airport security are unable to promise that you are who you assert to be, you will need to display proof of identification. Based on where you are going to, this i. d. might require to be more than a basic government issued identification card or license. In reality, it’s also possible to need to provide your birth certificate, a passport, a visa, or a certificate of citizenship. For more information on which evidence of identification are required, you are suggested to get in touch with the international airport or airline that you will be using.

When you have managed to get via all of the international airport security checkpoints, a person need to be ready to begin boarding your airplane. When boarding your plane, you are recommended to do it in a quiet, but timely manner. Once your airplane is in the atmosphere, you’ll want to adhere to all directions supplied by the pilot or flight attendants. This consists of staying in your seat till it’s safe and sound to stand up. In the event that a person do not work with the airline workers, you may be putting oneself and other persons in threat.

While it really is crucial to understand most international air travel rules, you will discover many tourist who are unsure why those procedures are so essential. They are really important not only for your protection and well being, but for the basic safety and well-being of other people. Even though it may appear silly at the moment, however, if you decline to remain in your seat or you are captured fighting with airport protection, you will find that you are immediately labeled a terror suspect. This is mainly due in portion to the panic of yet another enemy strike. Once this occurs it really is frequently hard or extremely hard to go back to normal.

In case you violate international airport security protocols, deliberately or not, it can be probable that you will be taken aside. Depending on the law that you dishonored, you may only obtain a warning, but you might also receive much more. Should you be labeled as a shady traveler, you might be detained by airport security or local regulators for an undetermined amount of time. The exact same can be mentioned for international air travel regulation violations in the air. Once your airplane is able to land, usually at the nearest available airport, you will be placed for questioning.

What will occur immediately after questioning will all hinge on your actions and the choices of local authorities or airport security. Considering that you can never promise the final result of your behavior, it is essential that you keep on your finest conduct when at an international airport or on-board an international flight.

Travel Trends to Begin a New Decade – What You Should Know

When the ball drops in Times Square, the new year will begin a new decade. But some travel trends from 2009 will be sticking around. So what travel trends should a savvy traveler be aware of in 2010?

1. More creative travel. Whenever gas prices soar and consumer budgets tighten, travelers get creative. Home exchanges are one of many creative vacation options that are here to stay. A home exchange program is where two members who are interested in visiting each others’ areas get to know one another enough to literally exchange homes. A family in Germany may live in the home of a family from New York while that family is visiting their exchange partner’s home in Germany.

Other travelers prefer to spend their vacation serving others. Whether they are involved in teaching English or working disaster relief, more people are looking for purpose in their vacation. In fact trends in creative vacations all offer more than just cost savings. They offer new friendships and good feelings with less tourist trappings.

2. More competition for travel dollars. As vacationers get creative, competition in the travel industry heats up. Many luxury hotels in popular tourist destinations will continue to offer incentives of all kinds in an attempt to lure vacationers. Some small business have found paying cruise liner prices for business conferences to be more economical than renting hotel space. And the deals aren’t likely to go away soon.

3. Increasing demand by foreign governments for documentation of travel health insurance. In 2009, many countries, especially those with a government health care plan, began tightening their health insurance requirements for visitors to their country. And such pressure for proof of international health insurance is only like to increase in the new year.

Incidents in which a foreign citizen becomes unexpectedly stuck in their country without proper treatment or a way to return home creates an uncomfortable international situation for many first world countries especially. Business people who need semi-permanent visas are especially encouraged to research any new regulations for the country they plan to do business in. This should be done in plenty of time to procure needed documents.

4. International travel and health insurance not affected by possible healthcare bill passage. Although it seems any official passage of a healthcare bill will wait for the new year, the results are not likely to change the need of travelers for international health insurance. Medicare currently doesn’t currently cover overseas services, and many private insurance plans gave similar restrictions. Even plans that do cover medical services rendered outside of the country, do not cover medical evacuation back to the US. In a true overseas emergency, these are always big concerns for travelers.

5. Terrorism travel concerns. Unfortunately, terrorism is not taking a vacation. The effects of terrorism will be felt in everything from heightened air travel security to hotel bombings to interrupted flights. International flights to and from the US are the most likely to be affected. The use of full body scanners are likely to raise the privacy concerns of disabled persons and certain religious groups. Longer lines and travel delays are inevitable along with quickly changing regulations. Make sure to keep up on the latest travel regulations just before your flight and know what your travel insurance will cover in case of a serious incident. Do not assume terrorism can’t happen to you.

On a lighter note, one travel news-maker should become less of a concern as 2010 moves on. Not only are there vaccines available to fight the Swine Flu pandemic, but developments have been less severe than feared. Although the Swine Flu is still killing at risk people under the age of fifty, the older population seems to have some immunity. Unforeseen events could still occur, but the current 15 percent infection rate in the US is much lower than the 50 percent infection rate originally predicted.

Are Travel Regulations Annoying Us Too Much or Helping Us With the Fight?

Needing a visa to travel to another country is common place now amongst the vast majority of countries around the world. Visas help a country keep track of who is coming in and going out of the country. Landing cards that must be filled in on arrival to a country also help to show when you actually used your visa (as a visa is merely an invitation to visit and most are valid for entry within a month) and when you will leave the country. Landing cards also help to get important census data such as the type of people going into and out of a country.

Security at airports has also increased massively over the past decade making it more difficult to make that last minute flight, you have to arrive at the airport in plenty of time. Furthermore, restrictions on what can be taken on board and some flights have even banned laptops nowadays. I appreciate that this is a necessary evil of modern travel but if you add this up to the hassle of getting visas in the first place it makes anyone want to put off any kind of long term travel.

The problem I have is that criminals can easily get around this system. Fake passports are easily obtainable if you have the right resources and contacts, likewise visas can be gained in the same manner. If someone really has a passion to enter a country, I think there is little the authorities can actually do to stop them. So my question remains, are we putting too much unnecessary red tape on the average law abiding citizen?

What I would say is authorities need to make it easier for normal average people to get visas and the necessary documentation to travel abroad. For some developing countries you need to prove you have money for your trip, you need to show your bank account details and an outward bound ticket for your next destination. Now this seems fine, but if you are backpacking around the world often you don’t make plans 30 or 60 days in advance. Getting extensions once in the country is also tiresome and being kept waiting around, virtually being treated like a criminal is not giving a good impression of a country.

If criminals really want to enter a country, they will find a way. Unnecessary red tape is just putting off people who spend vast amounts of money from visiting countries. I am certainly thinking twice about visiting certain countries just because of the sheer hassle of getting a visa to travel there. I would have thought with competition for tourists at an all-time high, they would be making life easier to travel to their countries.

Crucial Air Travel Tips You Have Got to Know

Have you been inside the method of preparing a loved ones holiday and even a business vacation? If so, there is a very good possibility that you choose to is going to be worried using an amount of issues, namely the right identification that is necessary to board an airplane. Appropriate identification may possibly get you about the airplane, nonetheless it will not necessarily imply that it is going to get you for your destination. For that, you are going to must know and abide by all with the air travel tips.

In terms of air travel principles, there are numerous travelers who instantly presume that they by now know what these principles are; on the other hand, the truth is always that lots of do not. In reality, you will find some several air travel guidelines to adhere to, that is complicated for just about any just one individual to learn and completely comprehend them all. This does not suggest that you choose to ought to not familiarize on your own using the principles of air travel; it just signifies that you simply ought to attempt and concentrate on by far the most vital kinds.

A person with the most vital air travel principles, that you simply have got to stick to, pertains towards the pieces which are prohibited on airplanes. When even more examining these goods, you may have to master which goods are only prohibited from becoming with your carry on luggage and which kinds are prohibited from airplanes altogether. In your own examination, you will probable come across that flammable or explosive items are not permitted on airplanes, below any circumstances. This suggests that you choose to can not provide gun powder bombs, flares, as well as cigarette lighters aboard a plane. Attempting to could not merely result in your things getting confiscated, nonetheless it could also bring about you missing your flight or becoming detained by airport safety.

Despite the fact that the ban of sharp, explosive, and flammable goods is regarded as widespread feeling, you will find other bans that usually are not as straightforward to understand on your individual. 1 of individuals bans could be the present poor on all liquids. This ban only is applicable for your carry on luggage. It absolutely was lately discovered that explosives could quickly be held or converted into liquids; therefore the cause for that ban. This ban not just is applicable towards food or drinks that you really consume, but your wellness and elegance supplies too. Rather than carrying these things inside your carry on luggage, you may ought to place them with your checked baggage. This liquid ban only carries a number of exceptions, for example infant formula, prescription medicine, or little quantities of non-prescription treatment.

When you arrive in the air port, the really serious air travel regulations start. A single of people regulations entails air port safety checkpoints. All guests are essential to pass via these checkpoints. This may be the time exactly where you may must go by means of a metal detector and your belongings will must be scanned by an x-ray machine. But, did you understand that this process has lately altered? Now, all people, unless they are disabled or endure from a critical healthcare situation, are needed to get rid of their footwear. As soon as you get rid of your footwear, your footwear shall be scanned using the rest of your respective carry on luggage.

As earlier described, a quantity of air travel policies are regarded as widespread feeling. By far the most significant air travel rule, that you really need to previously be conscious of, could be the must cooperate with air-port protection or airline flight crews. Inside event that you choose to unsuccessfully attempt to pass via an air port safety checkpoint, you have to remain calm. If it absolutely was a mistake, you should really have absolutely nothing to get worried about. Beginning a confrontation, regardless of whether it be in the air port or with the sky, can result in really serious consequences. Not just may possibly you find yourself missing your holiday or your business vacation, but you may well even find yourself investing the night in jail.

Do You Need Travel Immunizations?

Travel immunizations are not an option in many cases. Anyone who is traveling to a foreign country is susceptible to diseases not found in their home country. Keeping this in mind, individuals need to be proactive in getting the proper protections in place. Do not put this off, either. In some cases, you may need to have the shots several weeks prior to leaving for your destination. Who needs them? Why? Where can you get them? The process is actually easier than you may think.

When to Go

In most cases, it is best to get travel immunizations between four and six weeks prior to your scheduled trip. Your body needs this amount of time to process such vaccinations. To become effective, you need to get the right number of doses as well. This may mean getting a series of shots over a period of weeks. If you have less than four weeks prior to your scheduled date, you still need to see your doctor. You may still benefit from getting these shots or medications. This also depends on the type of vaccine you are getting.

What Type Do You Need?

The Centers for Disease Control provide recommendations for those who are traveling. This differs based on each country you are traveling to during your trip. Recommended vaccinations are those that provide protection from infectious diseases across borders. These are a good idea to have but are not required.

Required vaccinations are regulated by the International Health Regulations. This includes yellow fever vaccinations for those who are traveling to areas of tropical South America and sub-Saharan African areas. It is also a requirement for those traveling to Saudi Arabia to get the meningococcal vaccination if they are traveling during Hajj, an annual event in which thousands of people converge in the area.

Additionally, children, pregnant women and those who have chronic health conditions should also speak to their doctors about their needs. You need to ensure you are getting the best possible type of protection for your health and this may mean additional vaccinations or a different type. It is a good idea to check the travel regulations set forth by the CDC for the countries you are visiting, too, to make sure you know what the risks are.

When it comes to travel immunizations, you can get them from your doctor or a hospital. However, do not overlook visiting your local urgent care. Many of these facilities can help you to get the immunizations you need right away without a long wait. Find out what type of shots you need to keep yourself and your family healthy when you are traveling overseas. Your life may depend on these types of treatments.

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.