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Hogg Robinson Shares Tips to Help Companies Manage Travel Costs

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As challenging economic conditions dominate news headlines, companies are starting to tighten their purse strings on business travel and related expenditure. Yet, there is mounting recognition that business travel must continue, particularly in today's global marketplace.

"The role of a corporate travel services provider has become ever more vital," said Greg James, General Manager at Hogg Robinson Group Singapore. "We aim to help our clients optimise their travel budgets, focusing on cost savings and efficiencies where appropriate and creating maximum return on expenditure. This may mean helping companies attain better control and compliance to travel policy, proposing alternatives to travel or considering the best service option to meet their needs."

Hogg Robinson Group (HRG), an international corporate travel services company, has shared a few tips on how corporations can better manage their travel budgets through this testing period.

HRG recommends that companies should:

- Tap on the Bargaining Power of TMCs: With their long entrenched history and extensive network of travel suppliers, travel management companies are in the best position to negotiate lowest hotel rates and airfares. Companies should make full use of the expertise TMCs can offer to optimise their travel budget and achieve maximum value.

- Evaluate Travel Policies: In view of the challenging global environment, companies should evaluate the effectiveness of travel policies and assess the need to adjust the class of travel, for instance, implementing a downgrade from business to economy class. Such measures can result in direct and significant cost savings.

- Enhance Policy Compliance: Compliance management is especially crucial when budgets are tight. Expenditure must be planned before a trip is made and companies should carefully monitor intelligence from credible reporting tools to ensure compliance. Where employees have breached travel limits, early and appropriate action must be taken. Companies can embark on an internal communications programme to highlight the importance of compliance as a cost-cutting measure.

- Make the Most of Technology: Employ the latest technologies which are capable of providing the best value fares from a host of sources. Focusing on achieving maximum cost savings for clients, HRG has rolled out its dedicated solution, HRG Global Pricing Desk, across Europe with plans to extend the service into Asia Pacific shortly. The service will help organisations achieve greater value from their investment in corporate travel and HRG claims it can result in an average 13% saving per air ticket. The bespoke solution taps into a team of highly skilled and experienced fares analysts' knowledge of routes, air fares and complex IATA (International Air Transport Association) rules to obtain the lowest rates on multi-sector flights on a proactive, pre-trip basis.

- Explore alternatives to travel: The objectives and intended achievements of trips taken must be clearly spelled out so that unnecessary travel can be avoided. Companies should examine the need for travel and explore alternatives such as video-conferencing and webinars where appropriate. To get maximum return on investment, a number of meetings should be scheduled per trip rather than just one meeting.

"The current global economic challenges are unlikely to vanish overnight and will only add to the pressure that businesses face. This is when our expertise is at its most valuable: by working in tandem with our clients, we are able to offer significant, value-added solutions which help them meet their objectives," said James.

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