Thinking About a Travel and Leisure Magazine Subscription?

For the discriminating consumer, nothing gives them a better option for all travel and leisure related information than a magazine travel and leisure magazine subscription. With a travel and leisure magazine subscription you can always be constantly aware of all the exciting places to travel and relax worldwide. You will also be given opportunities to save on all travel related costs. A travel and leisure magazine subscription will also save you a significant amount on the costs of your favorite travel and leisure magazines. Plus, you’ll have the added convenience of having your favorite travel and leisure magazines delivered right to your front door.

Travel magazines make an excellent gift choice for all those hard to buy people with cultivated tastes. It is a gift idea than will keep on giving every time that person opens their mailbox and finds the informative and entertaining travel and leisure magazine they’ve been waiting to read. So let someone you care about know how you feel about them by ordering a travel and leisure magazine subscription for them and you might as well order yourself one, because you do not want to be left out of all the information, discounts, reviews and travel tips available in a travel and magazine.

A leisure and travel magazine subscription will be a valuable resource if you are planning a business trip or vacation excursion anywhere in the world. It will have informative articles, features and reviews about the travel and leisure industry. But better still, is will have money saving tips and discounts on a variety of travel related products. Anything from discounts on transportation, whether by airplane, train, cruise ship or car, you’ll save money by having a travel and leisure magazine subscription. You will read fascinating articles about hot travel spots in every corner of the globe. You will read from travel industry professionals about a variety of subjects that could be used to ensure that your business trip or next vacation is safe and fun.

With a leisure and travel magazine subscription, you will know the world’s best travel, will be aware of the best restaurants, hotels, resorts, and cruises. You will be aware of some of the best food and best shopping from Paris to Singapore. Readers with travel and leisure magazine subscriptions will be informed about hot vacation travel deals and get insider tips for traveling that will save them money and allow them to get the best out of their trip.

A lot of people love to travel, but not many know how to travel smartly. Or they may not be aware of the superb deals that can be had simply by knowing about it, Being informed about travel deals on hotels, airfare and sight-seeing tours can vastly increase the success of any business trip or pleasure vacation. With all the great deals you will discover by having a travel magazine subscription, you will be able to travel a lot more frequently and at a fraction of the costs you used to spend on traveling.

Travel and Leisure Subscription

The time you spend on your vacation should be top quality time. Our holidays are the only times we have for living our dreams to the fullest possibility we are able to reach. That is the reason why the choice of your vacation spot should be made with extreme care. All travel advertisements have something exciting to say about the resorts and the cities that they are promoting but there are three pitfalls you have to watch out for when planning the perfect holiday for yourself.

First, you need to be sure that you are going to get precisely what you have been promised by the media hype. Secondly, you have to avoid spur of the moment enthusiasm which may have you opting for a vacation spot that you won’t actually enjoy when you get there, and thirdly, you have to choose the best rates you can avail of in order to maximize the value of your money. In this matter, however, “cheap” doesn’t always mean “good.” There are low rates for which you will be getting no value for your money. On the other hand, there are higher travel and vacation accommodations that are well worth every cent you will be paying.

The good news is that Travel and Leisure subscription is one well-known, because reliable source of any and all facts that you would want to know about vacation spots. If you don’t have a Travel and Leisure subscription yet then you should postpone planning out your vacation until you get your hands on a copy or sign up for a subscription. This travel guide contains the most complete listing of the best known resorts, pleasure palaces and tourist destinations in the world.

What is your priority consideration for your vacation? Is it adventure or culture? Would you like to spend most of the time in a sun-drenched beach or touring national monuments and cultural attractions? Are you agog to see celebrities or just dying to get away from city life? Is affordability of cost you first priority when planning a vacation? Whatever shape your dream vacation comes in, Travel and Leisure subscriptions are your means to finding the spot and touring accommodations to realize it.

The magazine features the latest tourism news and updates from the best vacation spots in the world. The information you will be reading on Travel and Leisure is almost available in real time. You can read about statistics that will inform you about the best and worst airports in the world, the top hotels and accommodations in the country of your choice plus tips on travelling, which are actually published comments and suggestions of their previous customers. If you are a first timer, you will find invaluable advice in the magazine for making your holiday trips safe and easy.

On top of that, you can avail of fantastic discounts, win sweepstakes and avail of promotions from Travel and Leisure subscriptions as well as from the many tourist service outfits worldwide that are affiliated with the magazine. So even before your think of travelling, get your Travel and Leisure subscription first.

Travel and Leisure Magazines

Where should I go on my next vacation? How much will a 7-day cruise cost? What are the latest vacation hot spots around the world? What place has the most beautiful beaches? The most delicious foods are found in what country? The most interesting culture can be seen in what part of the world? What is happening in the travel industry today? These and many more questions can be answered if you had magazine travel and leisure literature to browse.

Magazine travel and leisure articles will put you in the know about hot travel destinations throughout the entire world. It would answer all the questions you may have about where to go on the next vacation, the cost of a 7-day cruise, or where the world’s top beaches are at. It essence, magazine travel and leisure information would enlighten and educate you about the travel and leisure industry as a whole. The magazine travel and leisure discounts offered are usually a tremendous savings opportunity that will have you traveling more each year, as you save money on all your trips. It doesn’t matter if you travel for business or pleasure, or whether you travel alone, with family or with groups, travel discounts make sense for the travel savvy. The better informed you are about the places you wish to travel to, the more likely it is that you will have a satisfying and rewarding experience when traveling.

Valuable and informative cultural awareness can also be obtained from magazine travel and leisure articles. What are the dos and don’t of visiting certain countries? Is it acceptable to always shake hands when meeting someone in a foreign country? Or do some cultures frown upon the traditional western greeting of a handshake. Do you need to take off your shoes when entering someone’s house in Asian countries? How much of a tip is it appropriate to give when dining in a fancy restaurant in Paris? Knowledge about such issues can be found in magazine travel and leisure articles. You will be pleasantly surprised at the kinds of tidbits you can pick up in these types of articles.

In magazine travel and leisure articles, you will visit far away exotic destinations, without ever leaving your own home. The newest travel trends will be at your fingertips. All the necessary information about the best hotel and resort deals, the most economical transportation options, and other important travel and leisure information will be within reach. Receive all the info you require from one source of information; magazine travel and leisure articles.

An informed traveler is a happy traveler. With magazine travel and leisure information at your disposal, you will know what hotel or resort to stay at, what city spot is a must-see and which restaurants to eat at in the top cities in the world. You’ll be up to date on the latest travel and leisure trends in the travel industry. Don’t make those travel plans until you are fully informed with the latest data from every destination hot spot.

Travel and Leisure Destinations For Best Family Vacations

Planning family vacations does not always have to be a taxing one, especially if you have a knack for finding the best all inclusive travel and leisure packages. Traveling with kids often requires more preparation compared to traveling with your partner, with friends or another adult, and before even setting ground rules, you should get started by brainstorming on a vacation spot that will be enjoyable not just for kids of varying ages, but for the adults joining the trip as well. With this in mind, we’ve listed a couple of luxury travel destinations that have been top-rated by kids and parents alike. Enjoy!

1. Atlantis Resort and Casino. For the most apparent reasons, this destination landed easily on the top five. It literally caters to the needs of every family member-the park recreates the lost continent it was named after, and needless to say, this is one of the best spots for water lovers.

Aside from the wonderful amenities, tourists who are kids and kids-at-heart will surely enjoy the resort’s various exhibit lagoons which serve as home to 50,000 animals.

2. London, England. England, is no doubt a dream destination to a lot of tourists. If you have kids who grew up fantasizing about the wizarding world of Harry Potter, then this is the perfect destination for you and the whole family. Get to see the Crown Jewels at Tower of London, enjoy a historical tour of the city’s famous landmarks including Big Ben and the Buckingham Palace, and enjoy a majestic view of the city via the London Eye.

3. Rome, Italy. Can you imagine how you will break the news about traveling to Italy to your kids? We can only think of one way: “Kids, how would you like to visit the country where pizza and gelato were invented?” This will surely get them excited, and you could follow it up by fun facts like “We’re also visiting the world’s smallest country!” since most vacation deals include a tour of the Vatican City.

4. Disney World in Orlando Florida. Contrary to popular belief, this destination is not just for children. There are even some cases when adults had more fun in the trip than their kids did.
Visiting the mecca of every cartoon-lover gives you the chance yo treat your kids to a childhood experience that they will never forget, and at the same time, you also get to reconnect with your inner child.

5. Tokyo, Japan. If Disney World is the mecca of cartoon lovers, Tokyo, Japan probably comes to a close second. The animated city has more to offer than being home to many of your children’s favorite anime characters-the city also houses some of the world’s most amazing museums such as The Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation, a destination that is usually included in most luxury travel deals.

Travel and Leisure Magazines to Inspire the Adventurer in You

Browse through the magazine racks of any bookstore and you’ll find the number of travel and leisure magazines offered endless. Whether you’re looking for inspiration for your next trip, wanting some top tips to plan a vacation or simply a new activity to keep you busy during time off at home, travel and leisure magazines are the perfect place to start your search. Here’s a round up of some of the best available:

Time Out Magazine
Fast becoming the leading authority on the world’s best cities, from LA to Buenos Aires, Cape Town to Copenhagen, Time Out now has 18 travel and 23 city magazines offering up to date information on the best places to stay, eat and be entertained in the world’s most fabulous cities. Even if you live in one of its featured cities, you can bet Time Out will come up with a new location or activity you never knew existed in your local area. Prepare to be amazed!

Outside
A travel and leisure magazine which has been keeping adventurers informed since 1977, Outside is for men and women who lead active lifestyles all year round. With glossy and colorful photography, prepare to be inspired to take to the outdoors and try something new, from rock-climbing to snowboarding, sailing to mountaineering.

National Geographic Adventure
The latest magazine in the National Geographic collection, this one is aimed at active men and women who seek new and exciting ways to explore and experience the globe. The photographs will inspire you to travel to destinations you would never have thought of visiting, alongside an excellent mix of features and articles, covering adventure stories, travel destinations, sports and outdoor activities.

Trailer Life
The writers of this travel and lifestyle magazine guarantee to provide you with information to “follow the road to adventure.” Aimed at owners of RVs, campers and motor homes who spend a few weeks a year or their whole life on the road, this glossy magazine is packed with information on national parks, camp sites, product tests, cooking tips and vehicle maintenance. Definitely one for RV owners who love life on the open road and are ingrained with a spirit of adventure.

Spa
For those of us who get our stress relief from relaxation rather than adrenaline packed adventures, Spa Magazine offers the secrets to the latest advances in beauty, healthy living and relaxation as well as a peek behind the doors of the most luxury and private retreats and information on the world’s best spas. If you’re planning a spa vacation, this is the place to find top tips on the most relaxing locations to unwind, detox and recharge your batteries without having to break the bank in the process!

What Travel Agents Need to Know About Corporate Travel Today

This is rightly named as the age of traveler-centricity and with the evolution of the new era of personalized travel; it is leading to research and development of a host of new so-called intelligent services. The command-and-control perspectives of traveling have changed a lot from the past and the focus has shifted more on the traveler and the productivity of each trip. It has become essential to maintain that the travelers have the greatest return on investment on each trip. New generations of young employees and managers, who have been growing up and dwelling in a digital age, are moving up the ranks as travelers. It has become essential to recognize the need for greater flexibility acknowledging that the employees who travel on corporate trips also consider a percentage of their trip to be a leisure outlet. With increasing globalization and rise in companies sending their staff overseas to network and connect with their offshore prospects/customers/suppliers, corporate travel is a highly profitable tourism segment. Before we talk about how tourism companies can better cater to business travelers, let us first look at why they prefer to use specialized corporate agencies over traditional agents

Why do businesses use Corporate Travel Agencies?

This might be the most basic question for a travel agency as to why they need to use agencies specializing in corporate travel when there are plenty of regular travel agents in the market. Here is the importance of corporate travel agencies who have online systems which allow business travelers access to their complete itinerary.

The following information is at the fingertips of the CTAs:-

full business itinerary details
up-to-date tracking details of flights (including delays or rescheduling)
transparent details about additional costs such as baggage fees or in-flight fees
travel alerts, if any, in the destined area
complete and up-to-date details about the visa procurement policies and identification required
currency requirement and conversion rates

What do corporate clients expect from Corporate Travel Agencies?

Negotiated Fares

The Corporate Agencies tend to have tie-ups with hotels, car rentals, flights etc. giving them access to lower fares which can be used only by the frequent business travelers. Discounted prices are not the only advantage though as they also offer flight upgrades, room upgrades, and VIP check-in lines as required.

In-depth information about the travel industry

Corporate travel agents have access to many travel resources and most importantly, quickly, than any other leisure travel agent. Additional information helps to make the business trips convenient and comfortable.

Changes in Itinerary

When an airline ticket needs to get rescheduled or cancelled, chances are the airline or the online service provider will charge lofty fees. When booking with a corporate travel agent, most of the times schedule changes can be done at zero or minimal extra charges.

Viable emergency contacts

It is important for the business travelers to reach the correct person at the need of trouble. Corporate travel agents have the experience and professionalism to relieve stress for both the traveler and the company.

What you need to consider as corporate travel increases?

Business Travel Barometer reported that corporate travel is witnessing an accelerated growth. However, when poorly managed, it may be no longer an advantage to companies and may, in fact become a burden. There are some factors which the corporations and CTAs must consider to get the best out of the time spent traveling.

Adopting a travel policy

The corporate must define a travel policy which is applicable to and respected by travelers at all levels. This policy should be used to establish the standards which will help to track the improvement of business travel. It will eventually help to reduce the costs of the entire package.

Do not limit the traveler’s autonomy

The management is responsible for budgeting the travel policy which helps to improve cost management however, it is also essential to give a degree of autonomy to the traveler. The policy should be flexible enough to allow the employee to adapt the trip as per the situation.

Traveler’s security should be a major concern

Business travelers need to have security in place. The company needs to stick to its definition of standards to ensure the employee’s integrity. The CTAs should have reliable partners (travel insurance, airlines, hotel chains etc.).

Mobility and automation

To optimize time and ease the processes, the administration of management platforms should have automated processes. This means they should adopt mobile solutions where search options, travel alerts, ticket reservations etc. can be accessed quickly, easily and on the go.

Corporate Travel Trends in 2016

Corporate travel trends tend to change regularly. 2016 has also not been any different and the travel management companies (TMCs) and corporate travel agencies (CTAs) are quite focused to provide steady if not strong axis all over. A growing MICE sector, investments in mobile and big data and enhanced focus on duty of care are some of their areas of focus.

Rising prices

The consolidated buzzword among global suppliers, airfares, hotel rates etc. is the rising fares. It is sometimes the move of the suppliers to generate discounts which encourage travel if there is a strong decline in demand. A positive 2016 world economy has been bringing an increase in air fares of a few percentage points, hotels are expected to see 4%-6% rise in average global rates and the competition will remain moderate in the car rental services.

Duty of care

Risk management is one of the major points of emphasis for corporations. Corporate customers are allowing new policies and improved technologies to monitor employees’ location in case of an emergency, especially when they are travelling to foreign destinations. For instance, Concur Risk Messaging helps to identify the travelers moving around in the world and alerts them with alternate travel arrangement as and when needed.

Focusing on MICE

Meetings industry is a major growing sector and the corporate travel trend is developing on it. The corporate travel agencies should better start aligning the various meeting procurement methodologies with its transient travel sourcing. One of the ways could be to broaden the variety of meeting services by incorporating incentive trips within it.

Investing in technology

A sharper focus on increasing value and becoming more traveler-centric can be done by bringing in mobile friendly technologies. Mobile and big data are definitely the two most significant technological investments which any corporate travel agency must focus to make their platform more appealing.

Business travel analysis after Brexit

Following Brexit, ACTE and CAPA shared their speculations. According to them, the greatest short-term effects on the travel industry will come from the weakening of the pound against other world currencies. Greeley Koch, executive director for the Association of Corporate Travel Executives said that the business travel industry will trend on currency fluctuations; with some companies taking advantage of the weaker pound and traveling more, while others may withhold business travel until world markets find their own level.

Impact of terrorism on corporate travelers

Travel policy makers and administrators need to be guided by rising terrorism scare. For executives and staff undertaking travel on behalf of businesses, the travel agents and corporate travel agencies (CTAs) should prove the reassurance for their safety through the travel policies. It is more than likely that the surveys conducted over corporate travelers reflect the general concern of the global business travelers about the spate of terrorism. However, there is no denying the fact that terrorist threat is changing the patterns of business travel. The key impact of this is to keep in mind that the companies providing travel services for business travelers need to enhance their focus on security and the associated risks in delivering the services to corporate clients. According to a recent finding, travel managers have higher estimation of their policy’s effectiveness in addressing risk compared to skeptical business travelers.

Concluding

Although the corporate travel sector has continued to progress, there are a plethora of challenges faced by the industry. A rapidly changing consumer market, the emergence of new business models, the impact of technology, man-made and natural crises are some of the fulcrum points that need to be considered before planning corporate trips.

Base Tendriling Travel Expenses

As business travel expenses nose upward, companies are realizing that better cost-management techniques can make a difference

US. corporate travel expenses rocketed to more than $143 billion in 1994, according to American Express’ most recent survey on business travel management. Private-sector employers spend an estimated $2,484 per employee on travel and entertainment, a 17 percent increase over the past four years.

Corporate T&E costs, now the third-largest controllable expense behind sales and data-processing costs, are under new scrutiny. Corporations are realizing that even a savings of 1 percent or 2 percent can translate into millions of dollars added to their bottom line.

Savings of that order are sure to get management’s attention, which is a requirement for this type of project. Involvement begins with understanding and evaluating the components of T&E management in order to control and monitor it more effectively.

Hands-on management includes assigning responsibility for travel management, implementing a quality-measurement system for travel services used, and writing and distributing a formal travel policy. Only 64 percent of U.S. corporations have travel policies.

Even with senior management’s support, the road to savings is rocky-only one in three companies has successfully instituted an internal program that will help cut travel expenses, and the myriad aspects of travel are so overwhelming, most companies don’t know where to start. “The industry of travel is based on information,” says Steven R. Schoen, founder and CEO of The Global Group Inc. “Until such time as a passenger actually sets foot on the plane, they’ve [only] been purchasing information.”

If that’s the case, information technology seems a viable place to hammer out those elusive, but highly sought-after, savings. “Technological innovations in the business travel industry are allowing firms to realize the potential of automation to control and reduce indirect [travel] costs,” says Roger H. Ballou, president of the Travel Services Group USA of American Express. “In addition, many companies are embarking on quality programs that include sophisticated process improvement and reengineering efforts designed to substantially improve T&E management processes and reduce indirect costs.”

As companies look to technology to make potential savings a reality, they can get very creative about the methods they employ.

The Great Leveler

Centralized reservation systems were long the exclusive domain of travel agents and other industry professionals. But all that changed in November 1992 when a Department of Transportation ruling allowed the general public access to systems such as Apollo and SABRE. Travel-management software, such as TripPower and TravelNet, immediately sprang up, providing corporations insight into where their T&E dollars are being spent.

The software tracks spending trends by interfacing with the corporation’s database and providing access to centralized reservation systems that provide immediate reservation information to airlines, hotels and car rental agencies. These programs also allow users to generate computerized travel reports on cost savings with details on where discounts were obtained, hotel and car usage and patterns of travel between cities. Actual data gives corporations added leverage when negotiating discounts with travel suppliers.

“When you own the information, you don’t have to go back to square one every time you decide to change agencies,” says Mary Savovie Stephens, travel manager for biotech giant Chiron Corp.

Sybase Inc., a client/server software leader with an annual T&E budget of more than $15 million, agrees. “Software gives us unprecedented visibility into how employees are spending their travel dollars and better leverage to negotiate with travel service suppliers,” says Robert Lerner, director of credit and corporate travel services for Sybase Inc. “We have better access to data, faster, in a real-time environment, which is expected to bring us big savings in T&E. Now we have control over our travel information and no longer have to depend exclusively on the agencies and airlines.”

The cost for this privilege depends on the volume of business. One-time purchases of travel-management software can run from under $100 to more than $125,000. Some software providers will accommodate smaller users by selling software piecemeal for $5 to $12 per booked trip, still a significant savings from the $50 industry norm per transaction.

No More Tickets

Paperless travel is catching on faster than the paperless office ever did as both service providers and consumers work together to reduce ticket prices for business travelers. Perhaps the most cutting-edge of the advances is “ticketless” travel, which almost all major airlines are testing.

In the meantime, travel providers and agencies are experimenting with new technologies to enable travelers to book travel services via the Internet, e-mail and unattended ticketing kiosks. Best Western International, Hyatt Hotels and several other major hotel chains market on the Internet. These services reduce the need for paper and offer better service and such peripheral benefits as increased efficiency, improved tracking of travel expenses and trends, and cost reduction.

Dennis Egolf, CFO of the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Louisville, Ky., realized that the medical center’s decentralized location, a quarter-mile from the hospital, made efficiency difficult. “We were losing production time and things got lost,” he says. “Every memo had to be hand-carried for approval, and we required seven different copies of each travel order.” As a result, Egolf tried an off-the-shelf, paper-reduction software package designed for the federal government.

The software allows the hospital to manage travel on-line, from tracking per-diem allowances and calculating expenses to generating cash advance forms and authorizing reimbursement vouchers. The software also lets the hospital keep a running account of its travel expenses and its remaining travel budget.

“Today, for all practical purposes, the system is paperless,” says Egolf. The software has helped the hospital reduce document processing time by 93 percent. “The original goal focused on managing employee travel without paper,” he says. “We have achieved that goal, in part due to the efforts of the staff and in part due to the accuracy of the software.”

With only a $6,000 investment, the hospital saved $70 each employee trip and saved almost half of its $200,000 T&E budget through the paper-reduction program.

Out There

Consolidation of corporate travel arrangements by fewer agencies has been a growing trend since 1982. Nearly three out of four companies now make travel plans for their business locations through a single agency as opposed to 51 percent in 1988. Two major benefits of agency consolidation are the facilitation of accounting and T&E budgeting, as well as leverage in negotiating future travel discounts.

A major technological advance that allows this consolidation trend to flourish is the introduction of satellite ticket printers (STPs). Using STPs enables a travel agency to consolidate all operations to one home office, and still send all necessary tickets to various locations instantly via various wire services. As the term implies, the machinery prints out airline tickets on-site immediately, eliminating delivery charges.

For London Fog, STPs are a blessing. London Fog’s annual T&E budget of more than $15 million is split equally between its two locations in Eldersburg, Md., and New York City. Each location purchases the same number of tickets, so equal access to ticketing from their agency is a must. With an STP in their two locations, the company services both offices with one agency in Baltimore. Each office has access to immediate tickets and still manages to save by not having to pay courier and express mail charges that can range up to $15 for each of the more than 500 tickets each purchases annually.

Conde Nast Publications’ annual T&E budget of more than $20 million is allocated among its locations in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, New York and Detroit. Since 1994, travel arrangements have been handled by a centralized agency, Advanced Travel Management in New York City, by installing an STP in each of these five locations. In addition to increased efficiency due to consolidation, Conde Nast now has the ability to change travel plans at a moment’s notice and have new tickets in hand instantly.

The real benefit is that the machines are owned and maintained by the travel agency., so there is no cost to the company. Due to the major expense involved, however, STPs remain an option only for major ticket purchasers. “STPs are a viable option in this process for any location that purchases more than $500,000 per year in tickets,” says Shoen.

As airfare averages 43 percent of any company’s T&E expenses, savings obtainable through the various uses of technology have become dramatic. For example, the ability of corporations to collect and analyze their own travel trends has led to the creation of net-fare purchasing-negotiating a price between a corporation and an airline to purchase tickets that does not include the added expenses of commissions, overrides, transaction fees, agency transaction fees and other discounts.

Although most major U.S. carriers publicly proclaim that they don’t negotiate corporate discounts below published market fares, the American Express survey on business travel management found that 38 percent of U.S. companies had access to, or already had implemented, negotiated airline discounts. The availability and mechanics of these arrangements vary widely by carrier.

What’s the Price?

Fred Swaffer, transportation manager for Hewlett-Packard and a strong advocate of the net-pricing system, has pioneered the concept of fee-based pricing with travel-management companies under contract with H-P. He states that H-P, which spends more than $528 million per year on T&E, plans to have all air travel based on net-fare pricing. “At the present time, we have several net fares at various stages of agreement,” he says. “These fares are negotiated with the airlines at the corporate level, then trickle down to each of our seven geographical regions.”

Frank Kent, Western regional manager for United Airlines, concurs: “United Airlines participates in corporate volume discounting, such as bulk ticket purchases, but not with net pricing. I have yet to see one net-fare agreement that makes sense to us. We’re not opposed to it, but we just don’t understand it right now.”

Kent stresses, “Airlines should approach corporations with long-term strategic relationships rather than just discounts. We would like to see ourselves committed to a corporation rather than just involved.”

As business travel expenses nose upward, companies are realizing that better cost-management techniques can make a difference.

US. corporate travel expenses rocketed to more than $143 billion in 1994, according to American Express’ most recent survey on business travel management. Private-sector employers spend an estimated $2,484 per employee on travel and entertainment, a 17 percent increase over the past four years.

Corporate T&E costs, now the third-largest controllable expense behind sales and data-processing costs, are under new scrutiny. Corporations are realizing that even a savings of 1 percent or 2 percent can translate into millions of dollars added to their bottom line.

Savings of that order are sure to get management’s attention, which is a requirement for this type of project. Involvement begins with understanding and evaluating the components of T&E management in order to control and monitor it more effectively.

Hands-on management includes assigning responsibility for travel management, implementing a quality-measurement system for travel services used, and writing and distributing a formal travel policy. Only 64 percent of U.S. corporations have travel policies.

Even with senior management’s support, the road to savings is rocky-only one in three companies has successfully instituted an internal program that will help cut travel expenses, and the myriad aspects of travel are so overwhelming, most companies don’t know where to start. “The industry of travel is based on information,” says Steven R. Schoen, founder and CEO of The Global Group Inc. “Until such time as a passenger actually sets foot on the plane, they’ve [only] been purchasing information.”

If that’s the case, information technology seems a viable place to hammer out those elusive, but highly sought-after, savings. “Technological innovations in the business travel industry are allowing firms to realize the potential of automation to control and reduce indirect [travel] costs,” says Roger H. Ballou, president of the Travel Services Group USA of American Express. “In addition, many companies are embarking on quality programs that include sophisticated process improvement and reengineering efforts designed to substantially improve T&E management processes and reduce indirect costs.”

As companies look to technology to make potential savings a reality, they can get very creative about the methods they employ.

The Great Leveler

Centralized reservation systems were long the exclusive domain of travel agents and other industry professionals. But all that changed in November 1992 when a Department of Transportation ruling allowed the general public access to systems such as Apollo and SABRE. Travel-management software, such as TripPower and TravelNet, immediately sprang up, providing corporations insight into where their T&E dollars are being spent.

The software tracks spending trends by interfacing with the corporation’s database and providing access to centralized reservation systems that provide immediate reservation information to airlines, hotels and car rental agencies. These programs also allow users to generate computerized travel reports on cost savings with details on where discounts were obtained, hotel and car usage and patterns of travel between cities. Actual data gives corporations added leverage when negotiating discounts with travel suppliers.

“When you own the information, you don’t have to go back to square one every time you decide to change agencies,” says Mary Savovie Stephens, travel manager for biotech giant Chiron Corp.

Sybase Inc., a client/server software leader with an annual T&E budget of more than $15 million, agrees. “Software gives us unprecedented visibility into how employees are spending their travel dollars and better leverage to negotiate with travel service suppliers,” says Robert Lerner, director of credit and corporate travel services for Sybase Inc. “We have better access to data, faster, in a real-time environment, which is expected to bring us big savings in T&E. Now we have control over our travel information and no longer have to depend exclusively on the agencies and airlines.”

The cost for this privilege depends on the volume of business. One-time purchases of travel-management software can run from under $100 to more than $125,000. Some software providers will accommodate smaller users by selling software piecemeal for $5 to $12 per booked trip, still a significant savings from the $50 industry norm per transaction.

No More Tickets

Paperless travel is catching on faster than the paperless office ever did as both service providers and consumers work together to reduce ticket prices for business travelers. Perhaps the most cutting-edge of the advances is “ticketless” travel, which almost all major airlines are testing.

In the meantime, travel providers and agencies are experimenting with new technologies to enable travelers to book travel services via the Internet, e-mail and unattended ticketing kiosks. Best Western International, Hyatt Hotels and several other major hotel chains market on the Internet. These services reduce the need for paper and offer better service and such peripheral benefits as increased efficiency, improved tracking of travel expenses and trends, and cost reduction.

Dennis Egolf, CFO of the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Louisville, Ky., realized that the medical center’s decentralized location, a quarter-mile from the hospital, made efficiency difficult. “We were losing production time and things got lost,” he says. “Every memo had to be hand-carried for approval, and we required seven different copies of each travel order.” As a result, Egolf tried an off-the-shelf, paper-reduction software package designed for the federal government.

The software allows the hospital to manage travel on-line, from tracking per-diem allowances and calculating expenses to generating cash advance forms and authorizing reimbursement vouchers. The software also lets the hospital keep a running account of its travel expenses and its remaining travel budget.

“Today, for all practical purposes, the system is paperless,” says Egolf. The software has helped the hospital reduce document processing time by 93 percent. “The original goal focused on managing employee travel without paper,” he says. “We have achieved that goal, in part due to the efforts of the staff and in part due to the accuracy of the software.”

With only a $6,000 investment, the hospital saved $70 each employee trip and saved almost half of its $200,000 T&E budget through the paper-reduction program.

Out There

Consolidation of corporate travel arrangements by fewer agencies has been a growing trend since 1982. Nearly three out of four companies now make travel plans for their business locations through a single agency as opposed to 51 percent in 1988. Two major benefits of agency consolidation are the facilitation of accounting and T&E budgeting, as well as leverage in negotiating future travel discounts.

A major technological advance that allows this consolidation trend to flourish is the introduction of satellite ticket printers (STPs). Using STPs enables a travel agency to consolidate all operations to one home office, and still send all necessary tickets to various locations instantly via various wire services. As the term implies, the machinery prints out airline tickets on-site immediately, eliminating delivery charges.

For London Fog, STPs are a blessing. London Fog’s annual T&E budget of more than $15 million is split equally between its two locations in Eldersburg, Md., and New York City. Each location purchases the same number of tickets, so equal access to ticketing from their agency is a must. With an STP in their two locations, the company services both offices with one agency in Baltimore. Each office has access to immediate tickets and still manages to save by not having to pay courier and express mail charges that can range up to $15 for each of the more than 500 tickets each purchases annually.

Conde Nast Publications’ annual T&E budget of more than $20 million is allocated among its locations in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, New York and Detroit. Since 1994, travel arrangements have been handled by a centralized agency, Advanced Travel Management in New York City, by installing an STP in each of these five locations. In addition to increased efficiency due to consolidation, Conde Nast now has the ability to change travel plans at a moment’s notice and have new tickets in hand instantly.

The real benefit is that the machines are owned and maintained by the travel agency., so there is no cost to the company. Due to the major expense involved, however, STPs remain an option only for major ticket purchasers. “STPs are a viable option in this process for any location that purchases more than $500,000 per year in tickets,” says Shoen.

As airfare averages 43 percent of any company’s T&E expenses, savings obtainable through the various uses of technology have become dramatic. For example, the ability of corporations to collect and analyze their own travel trends has led to the creation of net-fare purchasing-negotiating a price between a corporation and an airline to purchase tickets that does not include the added expenses of commissions, overrides, transaction fees, agency transaction fees and other discounts.

Although most major U.S. carriers publicly proclaim that they don’t negotiate corporate discounts below published market fares, the American Express survey on business travel management found that 38 percent of U.S. companies had access to, or already had implemented, negotiated airline discounts. The availability and mechanics of these arrangements vary widely by carrier.