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Implement a Successful Travel Program

Implement a Successful Travel Program

David Grossman | USA TODAY

In tough economic times, businesses are always seeking new ways to reduce costs, and travel budgets are often one of the first areas to come under scrutiny. One way to save money without sacrificing necessary travel or the traveler’s quality of life on the road is through the deployment of a corporate travel management program. While most large corporations have such programs in place, many smaller businesses don’t and could benefit greatly by implementing one.

“A corporate travel program allows corporations to achieve transparency and accountability of one of their significant expenses,” says Ellina Arakelova, the travel operations manager for Align Technology, the makers of Invisalign, clear aligners for straightening teeth. “A well-managed corporate travel program ensures better corporate and financial discipline and improves the traveler experience,” adds Arakelova, who was hired to implement a corporate travel management program for Align.

Based in Santa Clara, Calif., Align Technology, Inc. has 1,400 employees worldwide and earned just over $300 million in revenues last year. When Arakelova joined the company in October 2007, there was no formal travel management program in place and no one dedicated to managing the company’s travel. Align had a relationship with a travel management company (TMC) and a corporate credit card, but use of these was not mandatory and employees routinely booked travel on public websites, making it impossible to track expenditures. “There was no pre-trip visibility and very limited opportunity to correctly reconcile travel spend,” says Arakelova.


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