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Implement a Successful Travel Program

Implement a Successful Travel Program

David Grossman | USA TODAY

•Find a travel management company. Next Arakelova developed a request for proposal (RFP) to evaluate or benchmark each travel management company. Arakelova sent the RFP to several contestants and selected Carlson Wagonlit Travel because they offered the best package of services, costs, travel reporting and supported technologies. “Going with Carlson I could implement any online booking tool,” says Arakelova. Carlson also provided web space for a customized Align travel portal and the use of their corporate hotel directory. That was a huge asset for Align because their customers are scattered across the country. Arakelova saw the reporting tools offered by her RFP respondents as an integral component of the corporate travel program. “Financial visibility and travel data analysis are key to program success”, says Arakelova.

•Implement an online booking tool. From her previous experience Arakelova believed it was crucial for travelers to use an online booking tool to bring costs down and manage data. Arakelova chose Concur Cliqbook Travel as her online booking tool because it has a user-friendly interface. In addition, Arakelova was able to build the travel policy, approval process and preferred vendors into Cliqbook. She says Cliqbook also provides excellent policy compliance enforcement and is easy to administer.

•Ensure effective communication. The travel portal is a critical component of Arakelova’s travel management program. The portal consolidates all travel-related information and is accessible to all Align employees. “Effective travel communication channels are one of the most important parts of the travel program,” says Arakelova. The portal contains the policy and procedures, access to Cliqbook or an agent-assisted booking process, training materials, insurance information, the preferred vendor list, travel alerts, and destination news. Arakelova also uses internal company publications for flash news and important announcements.


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