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.

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.”

source: http://orlandomap.info/base-tendriling-travel-expenses

Why Finding Cheap Hotel Deals Online is More Convenient

Are you looking for some cheap hotel deals online? Well, most of the travelers today that are looking for some cheap hotel deals normally search on the internet because they find better deals online rather than going to the place and than finding a suitable hotel which would be a more costly affair. Travel and tourism today has become really important for each country as it earns a good income for the country. On the other hand, people are able to find more information about the new places on the internet and they would like to visit such places where they can enjoy their holidays and have a nice time with their friends and family.

With so many people looking for an adventurous trip many tour travelers and online travel agents came out with their own business websites where they provide good transportation facilities and cheap hotel deals. Many travelers who are always on the move always prefer cheap hotel deals because they like to spend more amount of money on other things during their trip like food and visiting other places and collecting souvenirs. Even those who are travelling for business trips prefer to find cheap hotel deals because it’s easier for them to travel at fewer expenses.

Apart from that there are many new hotels that provide attractive new schemes and offers to frequent travelers and they provide such information freely on their websites. Some of the travelers who are visiting many place in one holiday trip have to stop at various destinations and therefore such hotels provide them good and cheap hotel deals that can fit their budget and they can stay for a longer period of days. These websites also provide the pictures and other attractions available at the destination which becomes very helpful for the travelers as they have prior information which can prove handy. Travelers can really make the best use of such websites because they are able to compare the prices and facilities provides by these hotels and select the best offers. Travelers can also book their tickets through these websites in advance so that they don’t have to bother during peak season. Even if you are not in the same country you can book your accommodation and travel tickets and print their receipts electronically. Online cheap hotel deals are really making waves across the planet as more and more people are hooked to the internet throughout the day.

Enjoy the Pleasures of Staying in Cheap Hotels in Las Vegas

It is a myth that there are no cheap hotels in Las Vegas! Yes, it is a city which is full of glitz, glamour, style, class, luxury and entertainment, but that does not mean you have to spend a fortune for accommodation in the city. The city is a very popular tourist destination, not only with the USA, but with people from all parts of the world. Anybody who wants to have a good time for relaxing and rejuvenating during a vacation can head over to Vegas. They will not have to worry about spending too much money as well, since there are plenty of cheap accommodation facilities available in the city.

Hotels in Las Vegas

Vegas is a very popular destination for tourists and that is why, there are several hotels located in the city. The city has hotel accommodation facility for all types of travelers – the various types of hotels available are luxury hotels, deluxe hotels, theme hotels, budget hotels, cheap hotels etc. You will have to choose a hotel, depending on your budget and other requirements. If you are looking to explore the various nooks and corners of the city, taking a hotel in the city centre would be a good idea. However, if you are stopping over in the city for just a night, the airport hotels in Las Vegas would be a good choice.

How to find cheap hotels in Las Vegas

Finding a cheap hotel in Vegas, would not be difficult, if you know how to go about it. Taking a look at the list of cheap hotels in the city would be a good way to begin your search. The cheap hotels come laden with all types of facilities; you will have to decide which one you would prefer. Some of you might want to go and see a particular show, or go gambling or you would simply like to go around the city and soak up the atmosphere. Based on what you want to do, you will have to choose a cheap hotel, which provides you with all these facilities. If you are traveling with your family, it is suggested that you find a family friendly cheap hotel in Vegas and enjoy your stay in the city.

Since the hotels give you affordable prices, it does not mean that you will not get good facilities during your stay. All the hotels have modern amenities to take care of any type of guest requirements. Some of the facilities available at the cheap hotels in the city include Casino, spa, bars, restaurants, themed garden, live entertainment, assortment of mouthwatering delicacies, fitness center, sauna, steam room, nightclubs etc. Just because you have less money to spend on accommodations, does not mean you have to miss out on a chance to enjoy various facilities available in the city; most of them are easily available within the hotel.

List of cheap hotels in Las Vegas

Listed here are some of the cheap hotels in Vegas. While looking for a cheap accommodation, you can consult this list.

Plaza Hotel
Hampton Inn
Paris Las Vegas
Super 8 Nellis Motel
Circus Circus Hotel
Riviera Hotel and Casino
La Quinta Inn and Suites
Tuscany Suites and Casino
Best Western Nellis Motor Inn
Atrium Suites Hotel
Ambassador Strip Inn Travelodge
Imperial Palace Hotel and Casino
Holiday Inn Express Hotel and Suites
Excalibur Hotel and Casino
Clarion Hotel and Suites Emerald Springs
Embassy Suite Hotel and Convention Center
Best Western Mardi Gras Suites and Casino

Find the Best Holiday Travel Deals!

Traveling doesn’t have to be expensive. You can lower the costs significantly if you follow the tips here.

When people think of traveling, they often think of far-away countries. And they are indeed amazing! There is so much to see in the world. So how to choose the best destination? Now we are talking about money. Find a country where your money is worth more than back home. That way you can travel for a longer period of time without having to worry about your budget. Asia and South America are generally your best choices, and you can also consider some parts of Eastern Europe. However, unless you have a plan B money-wise, stay clear from Paris, London, Rome, Milan.. all the exciting cities you have heard so much about! They are magnificent, but you won’t like the prices.

When looking for the best holiday travel deals, you need to keep your eyes open and know where to look. Compare different search engines. Create a travel alert which follows the prices for you and emails the results. Follow different airlines and their offers. And most importantly: if you know when you want to travel and where you want to go, start looking for your tickets early! Usually the price starts going up at least eight weeks before the departure, even earlier if you are planning to travel before popular holidays like Thanksgiving or Christmas, when everyone seems to be traveling.

There is an alternative approach to this: if exact dates and locations are not an issue, you can try your look and wait for last-minute deals. You might find excellent offers.. or not. Have a plan B for how to spend your holiday if this one falls through. These same tips will naturally work for getting the best holiday travel deals for cruises and trip packages too.

One good way to spend less money at your holiday destination and find exciting hidden places is to ask the local people for suggestions for what to do. If you want an honest answer, ask something like “where would you go for Japanese food” (or whatever it is you are after) instead of “where should I go for Japanese food”. That way they are less likely to suggest places made for tourists, since locals rarely visit them. If you are lucky, the people might show you around or invite you to have lunch with them at their favorite restaurant. Finding some local gems is both cheaper and more interesting than following your guide book to a tee.

How Online Hunting Could Help You Find Cheap Hotel Deals

Europe is one of the best places to leisurely spend your vacation. A European vacation gives you the chance to enrich your background of European culture and know the civilized society that once existed in Greece. But for you to enjoy your vacation, you should have enough resources for your vacation stay and to be able to shop the items that you want. If you have limited resources, the best thing that you could do is to allocate more of your budget to your travel destinations and find ways to minimize your expenses on your hotel accommodation or your plane ticket. But how do you find cheap hotels in Europe?

There are a lot of affordable hotels in Europe but the chances that you could find the best cheap hotels are at a minimal if you just depend on your travel agency. Most travel agencies offer only the hotels that they have partnered with and you could only benefit from it if they have promotions or discounts, otherwise they will just offer you the normal rates. I do not mean to ask you do the search by calling all the hotels with the directory or yellow pages but rather let your computer do the dirty tasks by searching the web for best and less expensive hotels.

A few keyboard typing and mouse clicking would lead you to several search results for affordable hotels. You just need to filter these results and find the hotel that is near the vicinity of your vacation destination. Then visit each hotel, surf the room photos and check the room rates. In that way, better deal with a hotel that you think had set the right price for an accommodation. Weigh whether they offer it fairly. If you will not let yourself scan other websites, then you will end up with an overpriced hotel rates.

If you do not want to work on the actual surfing and visit each of the hotels that you target, there are other websites that can make a comparison on the hotels that are available. The best thing with it is that, when you have already decided on which hotel you will choose, you can immediately make a reservation online, book the hotel and pay online too. However, you should make sure that the website you are doing the transaction with is safe from phishing or that the website is valid and not a fraud.

You may also ask a friend to help you out in choosing the hotel especially when he or she has already traveled in Europe. A referral is one of the most effective means to find the hotel accommodation that you are looking for and the nicest advice to have too.

Finding a cheap hotel in Europe does not mean looking for the lowest rate of hotel accommodation but rather maximizing the discounts and promos that are provided by hotels. This will save you money and you can use the saved money to spend more in shopping and leisure.