Often times I am asked by clients, "How long should we audit for?" This question holds an answer I am truly passionate about and I would like to convey my thoughts to all of you.
Think of your travel program as any other program within your business that is ongoing, expensive, and always evolving. Any program with these qualities, including a travel program, should be evaluated continuously. Travel is frequently the third highest expense in corporate business behind wages and cost of goods sold; the time put into employee review and supplier research, should be similar to the time dedicated to travel program evaluation.
Frequently we have clients who begin an audit due to a specific concern or issue such as, "Our average fares were above industry averages last month," or "Our employees are complaining they can find lower fares on the internet," or "We just changed TMC's and we want to evaluate our new TMC's performance." These are all good reasons to BEGIN an audit, however, a useful corporate travel audit should not be based or timed around one specific issue or concern. Like any other successful program within a company, a travel program should be continuously evaluated as a responsible business practice and to obtain the most accurate data possible.
It is deceptive and impractical to audit for one or three months and claim you have truly evaluated your TMC. By auditing for a specific, short period of time you get an unfocused snap shot view of how your agency is doing in that moment. Everyday behind the scenes things are changing at travel agencies that you are unaware of - or some TMC's may even throw additional staffing at a monthly audit to ensure high results. There are new agents on the job, or new management teams in charge of specific locations. Everyday things change in the travel marketplace, airlines are consolidating, and some airlines are becoming unavailable in the GDS; as a travel manager the best way for you to truly evaluate your travel program is by obtaining a full length motion picture of information throughout the year. Without a complete movie of data to investigate, changes to your travel program can't be made that truly reflect an appropriate assessment.
At Topaz we encourage you to evaluate your travel program continuously throughout the year. Don't take a snap shot and try to analyze your program from a moment in time. You may be missing the whole story. Don't take a few snap shots and try to guess what happened in the middle. Provide yourself with a continuous film of information to fairly and accurately assess your program leading to successful revisions and savings.
We look forward to working with you and developing a relationship in the months to come.
All my best,
Manager of Marketing & Business Development