By Patti Esposito, Senior Managing Consultant
Before the bid process even begins, it’s important to understand where your program is today. First, start with data and analysis. An analysis of your travel footprint is the best jumping off point. Determine which carriers are the best fit for your travel pattern. Additionally, a baseline savings analysis of current contracts could be beneficial. Then, apply what you learn in the analysis of your airline portfolio to structure RFPs. Model your current contracts as a basis to compare proposals against.
During your review of your current program, answer the following to more deeply understand where your program stands today, identify opportunities for improvements, and set the strategy to get where you want to be. It should be noted that to answer these questions you will likely need to review multiple data sources, use advanced analytics, and look into data visualization tools. The insight you gain will lead to better and quicker decisions.
- Do my airline agreements make sense for my current purchasing patterns?
- Do my airline agreements make sense for my current travel footprint?
- What is the best mix of preferred carriers to maximize my savings?
- What is the best mix of preferred carriers to maximize my coverage?
- Where are my leverage points and how can I use them in negotiations?
And remember, the work doesn’t stop after contracts are signed. Continue to review performance through the life of your contracts to be sure what was promised is delivered. Monitor markets, trends, and your travel program in real-time to turn projected business travel savings into realized savings, uncover additional savings, capitalize on innovation and opportunities, mitigate risk and manage demand.