Managing a travel program can be complex even when the requirements are quite straightforward, so imagine what it’s like for travel managers in the energy, resources, and marine (ERM) sectors.
Getting people to remote and often dangerous places like the world’s deserts, Alaska and the open ocean is no mean feat.
Traveling from one financial center to another can be challenging enough. Traveling to the world’s most unusual locations like oil rigs and mines requires a whole different set of rules.
In a this blog post we shared the key things to bear in mind to negotiate travel successfully for 2019. However, if you work in the energy, resources and marine sectors you want to read these specific tips to help you keep the cost of travel down in a market on the rise.
- Know where (not) to save. Travel remains a significant cost for companies in the ERM industries and since air prices are projected to go up next year, companies might be tempted to go for the lowest available fares. However, in the long run this might not be a good strategy. Low fares are restricted, and often ancillary costs will drive up the price. Change fees are also to be considered so if your company has a fairly high change rate, a less restricted fare may be a better option on balance.
Tracking, data reporting, and regular analysis are your friends in this area: if you can put a number on your change rate, and either work to reduce it or use it to decide on the most appropriate fare, you will save money in the long run.
When it comes to booking hotels, it’s also worth looking at the cost efficiency of your strategy. Depending on the market, if your company is unlikely to book more than 150-300 room nights a year into a property, it’s probably not worth investing in negotiations. Instead, use an integrated service like RoomIt by CWT to get the best deals on properties with a lower travel volume.
- Be prepared for emergencies. Always have a plan B and resources that can take care of the unexpected since a disruption in a flight can imply, for example, that a crew rotation can be missed on a rig. That can halt or delay work on the rig, something that can end up costing a company millions of dollars a day.
For instance, during Hurricane Harvey, 95% of CWT Energy, Resources and Marine’s agent workforce in Houston were up and running, working around the clock on more than 121,000 cancelled and delayed flights, and putting in an additional 4,000 hours across the network—before, during and after the storm to minimize impact on clients.
Safety and security are also key. You need to be able to look after everything: from large-scale rig evacuations to locating and assisting individual travelers around the globe. CWT Energy, Resources & Marine has in place crisis management processes that include emergency alerts, traveler tracking, evacuation, and repatriation, as well as other crisis and risk management assistance to help you out with this very important task.
- Use technology (and people) to your advantage. Technology plays an increasingly large role in everything we do, and travel booking is no exception. Mobile booking is on the rise too. That said, consider all available booking channels in order to find the perfect blend of human and digital for your company.
Not all bookings can be made online: Online Booking Tools (OBTs) generally don’t include Offshore & Marine Fares and don’t allow for group bookings.
Define what you can easily do online and what is better left to travel consultants. This will save you money and leaves consultants free to deal more efficiently with complex requests.
- Always consider the traveler. Ultimately, your people are what matter most in keeping your company running. While it is advisable to keep travel policies tight in times of economic prosperity, it is important never to lose sight of the traveler and their needs when establishing those policies.
Generally, travelers want to do the right thing and follow policy guidelines so we advise you to trust your travelers and let them inform your policy decisions. Handing them tools to encourage them and increase compliance, like customized mobile booking tools and interactive itineraries, can help with this. You will gain a happier, healthier travel population, and, ultimately a more robust policy.