Local companies are learning to apply new solutions when organizing business trips, but the majority of them are still not using specialized agencies that could deliver huge savings.
Some 40% of the decision-makers in Hungarian companies plan changes in business travel arrangements, mostly by reducing formalities and targetting more user-friendly solutions, according to a survey conducted by Amadeus, a leading service provider offering cutting-edge tourism-related solutions. The study covered not just Hungary, but also other countries in the CEE region, such as Czech Republic, Poland, Latvia, Lithuania and Romania.
Since one-third of Hungarian companies still don’t have corporate policies concerning business travel and the in-house person in charge of such duties is normally overwhelmed, the arrangement process is often problematic and time-consuming. Cost-effectiveness also suffers since individual firms, as opposed to specialized travel agencies, stand little chance of securing substantial savings due to the lack of discount agreements with hotel chains or airlines. Travel-related expenses don’t seem to be an issue, though, since seven out of ten companies in Hungary don’t have any plans to cut costs, with only one in every five saying they would take such a measure in the near future.
Márk Szula, country manager of Amadeus Hungary, believes that it is high time to make corporate decision makers aware of the importance of professional business travel management. Cooperation with a specialized entity helps employees implement and apply corporate travel policy in a simple manner, which is the most important factor of arranging business trips.
“Business trips play a substantial role in deepening existing relationships, and face-to-face meetings directly contribute to the success of the enterprise,” Szula says. “This is the very reason why, despite the fast development of ITC technology, companies mustn’t make the mistake of cutting on business travel. Instead they should strive to organize it in the most cost-efficient way possible by using state-of-the-art solutions.”
By structuring business travel management with the support of specialized companies, it is possible to reduce business travel costs without limiting the number of trips, Szula explains. Financial savings achieved by such cooperation result from access to more attractive offers, using corporate rates negotiated with providers and implementing control procedures that enable companies to ensure easy compliance with travel policy. Time savings, on the other hand, result in shifting most operational tasks in the area of travel management from traveling employees and other in-house personnel involved in that process to agency experts.
“That solution balances the expectations of companies and employees: it not only reduces travel costs and red tape, but it also gives employees flexibility, security and financial support during travel, as well as quick organization of trips,” Szula adds.
The Amadeus research provides a hopeful scenario in this regard. More than 70% of companies in Hungary – and over half of those in the CEE – would be willing to engage an external professional service provider if cooperation had obvious benefits. Interestingly, however, optimism about whether such optimization would actually take place is moderate. Some 60% of respondents in Hungary don’t expect any change in the way business travel arrangements are done, even though two-fifths of them would desire such changes.