Category management

We believe in a sustainable end-to-end fully integrated approach to travel, meetings, payment, and expense where your program can embrace and integrate third party products, services, and technologies. Meeting your sustainability goals combined with the traveler experience/friction, digital transformation, safety and security, risk management and service disruption are now core elements to every program. With the advent of big data and analytics, category procurement teams have greater access to insights than even before and are now focusing on category innovation. Change does not happen without innovation, and you need the right skillsets and processes to enable effective change. Here at Avenue5 Consulting we have vast experience and track record of success in assisting our clients to meet, and often exceed their objectives.

End-to-end framework integration of travel, meetings, payment, and expense

We understand the True Total Cost of Travel (TTCT) and how this impacts your strategic and business case planning and strategic sourcing execution. We want to help you elevate your program to the next level and make it future proof. We challenge everything and bring imagination to life with a crystal-clear transparent approach that enables you to optimize your travel, meetings, payment, and expense program. At Avenue5 Consulting we believe that a category operating model should be integrated but also allow a seamless open platform approach that allows third party technologies and products to be blended into the program. The framework of integration can allow multiple suppliers to operate within one managed program. The strategy for integration starts at the expense stage and works its way through the supply chain to travel. At each stage, innovation and digital transformation can flourish and deliver a program that is future-proof and is agile in its design to embrace change and disruption.

1.

Understanding the True Total Cost of Travel (TTCT)

Our framework integration model is the first re-set of your company’s baseline. This enables a clear overview of category spend under management. At Avenue5 Consulting we will help you get to that level with a transparent view for your return on investment.  Some programs are mature in that that they have already achieved a certain level of spend transparency and integration of travel, payment, and expense. The next re-set of your company’s baseline is to understand the other costs that are associated with your program, such as audit fees, process, administration, cost of non-compliance, expense and payment reconciliation, cost of money and of course meetings spend. Your other program costs can increase your previous visible baseline by 40-60%. How would manage your category differently and how it would be viewed by your leadership if your previous baseline was at $20M but the true total cost of travel was more than $32M? At Avenue5 Consulting we have the experience to help you understand your true baseline to enable you to make better informed strategic decisions.

2.

Strategic assessment and business case planning

At Avenue5 Consulting we believe that aligning your program with your company objectives gives you the greatest opportunity for success. With this alignment it enables you to gain early executive sponsorship and acceptance across the wide range of diverse stakeholders you need buy-in from to execute your strategic plan for travel, meetings, payment, and expense. Fully Understanding what your company’s strategic imperatives are and the metrics they are measured upon, will significantly accelerate your program goals and objectives. Internal business case planning is challenging, however at Avenue5 Consulting we can help you articulate your vision for the future by clearly demonstrating the alignment of objectives, the cost benefit and value to the company and its travelers, and clearly delineate how success will be measured.

3.

Travel policy – compliance and audit

The vehicle of compliance is your travel policy. To ensure your program effectiveness, the travel policy needs to be fit for purpose. During the pandemic many companies took the opportunity to revise their policy with a deep dive analysis on the actual need for travel and what types of communities were traveling. At Avenue5 Consulting we believe that identifying the purpose of trip pre-travel is paramount to create an effective travel policy. We have designed different workflows within a policy depending on whether a trip is revenue or non-revenue generating. Understanding the different traveler types that fit in to each of these categories is essential. Unmanaged spend outside of the approved channels not only costs a company money but is a significant risk to traveler safety and security. A regular policy audit and traveler education program are bedrock tools to ensure your policy is compliant and fit for purpose.

4.

Sustainability

The carbon footprint of all organizations now has microscopic attention, and this will only increase as countries near their date commitments to carbon neutrality. Business travel and meetings is under the spotlight as this is a key contributor to a company’s carbon footprint. Understanding your baseline carbon emissions as it relates to travel and meetings is critical and how this aligns with your company’s sustainability goals. Virtual collaboration meetings technology has, and will continue to replace many physical trips, however there will still be a need to travel. In this respect, a company’s travel policy should clearly state all the steps it is taking to reduce their footprint as it relates to the impact of travel and meetings on the environment. Avenue5 Consulting understands that future travel programs will require stricter supplier selection, robust and measurable processes, emissions dashboards and a clearly communicated traveler awareness program that enables behavioural change.

5.

Strategic sourcing

Avenue5 Consulting has significant experience in sourcing travel and meetings management companies, technology and product providers, payment, and expense companies. In our experience the most successful companies before they go to market, have clear visibility of their spend under management, robust compliance tools and processes in place and an integrated framework for travel, meetings, payment, and expense. The strategic sourcing execution is an output of the defined category strategy that understands its true total cost of travel. Companies vary in their preferred method of sourcing; some believe that single global selection has enough benefit to outweigh the risks of not having a best in market approach for every single country. Other companies are looking at regional/local selection to ensure they have best in market but may lose some of the global benefits. At Avenue5 Consulting we understand the pros and cons, however this is unique to each company. We will help you to map out your optimal approach for your strategic program objectives. We have expert resources to lead, manage or support your strategic sourcing endeavours for, requests for information, proposals, or quotation.

6.

Digital transformation

In our experience, digital transformation is an imperative for all companies and is now a core element to the category operating model. Business process re-engineering is an essential part of this process and here at Avenue5 Consulting we have the expertise to help you navigate the complexities. An example of digital tools as it relates to corporate travel, meetings, payment, and expense are online booking tools, mobile/cell phone technology, traveler communication, payment, and expense reimbursement, and virtual collaboration. Increasingly, travelers want their experience to be as simple as online banking or ordering a product through Amazon. Digital transformation allows for a highly predictive and personalized service which saves time and money. A company’s culture is key to the speed of success and requires careful consideration and constant communication plans for the value and benefit for transformation.

7.

Change management

For travel management companies the average length of client relationship is 2-3 contract cycles, approximately 10-12 years. Contract term being offered by companies has started to increase from 2-years to 5-years. Strategic sourcing for travel, meetings, payment, and expense is complex, and change has often been avoided where there is not a compelling business reason to change or whether a balance of trade exists between the companies.  Reasons for change can be related to, mergers and acquisitions, service degradation, financial benefit, and cultural fit. In our experience, we have found that even with a compelling reason to change, companies do not have the internal resource time allocation to effectively manage the change. Here at Avenue5 Consulting, we have experienced resources to lead, manage or be part of your change team.

8.

Risk management

The current pandemic has highlighted the importance of companies keeping their travelers safe and secure and delivering on their duty of care requirements. Unmanaged travel and meetings spend is often identified post-event and that is a direct result of compliance deficiencies in the travel policy and the processes that exist. For airline trips compliance is on average 80-90% compliant to policy, however for hotel and meeting bookings this falls to between 45-60%. There is therefore a significant risk that in the event of major disruption, a company is not fully aware where all their travelers are located. At Avenue5 Consulting we work with your internal security teams to assess the risk as it relates to travel and meetings and provide informed recommendation that enable changes to process and policy. Risk management is also related to supplier/vendor financial health particularly as it relates to your primary suppliers. We can assess that risk and devise disaster recovery plans to replace your suppliers/vendors in the event of their failure.

9.

Intelligence and analytics

An integrated travel, meetings, payment, and expense program allows companies to make better and faster informed decisions for their program. Data intelligence is a critical component for your risk management strategy and duty of care obligations. In our experience, companies can have a rich source of data from their travel and meetings management companies and payment and expense providers. Data quality is paramount, and the effective consolidation of data provides actionable insights for; program compliance, traveler behaviour, supplier negotiations and risk management. Dashboard reporting is a key tool for travel managers to communicate business unit performance and enact change where required. At Avenue5 Consulting we believe that data integrity is an essential component in understanding your true total cost of travel and how it enables your program to be elevated to the next level. We have the expertise to assess your data and analytics strategy and provide informed recommendations.

10.

Taking care of your people

Whilst most companies have a travel policy, many organizations do not mandate the policy and use their policy as a guideline. Engaging and influencing travelers is a key component to ensure the very best decisions are being made on behalf of their companies. Through continued engagement companies can start to understand the buying behaviours of their travelers and are able to put mechanisms in place to influence those decisions. Travelers are demanding more simplicity and to have information digitally available at each stage of their trip. At Avenue5 Consulting we have significant experience in what methods are being adopted to optimize traveler decision-making and what tools can be provided to the traveler to enhance their trip experience. Now more than ever, companies are starting to put their travelers personal health and well-being at the forefront. We are seeing companies measuring the impact of travel on their people and providing additional support such as, Covid-19 testing, 24/7 medical assistance including mental health support, geo location tracking and robust contingency planning. We can help you benchmark your organization and provide meaningful recommendations to continually improve your travelers well-being.