When the best made plans unwind....
I recently caught up with an old friend for a coffee. They have recently started a new business and as such, they have a small demand for nationwide travel within New Zealand. It’s not a huge amount of travel but is enough that within the first year of operating, they realised that organising their own travel was a right royal nuisance. What seemed like a great idea at the time was costing them money, because after all “Time is Money” and is one thing that can’t be replaced.
I’m going to share with you the example that we discussed. A simple trip from Christchurch to Auckland to see a potential new client. Date was set, flights were booked, hotel was booked, and boom!! A simple process completed relatively quickly and effortlessly online. All pre-paid for on the company credit card, and any incidentals could be sorted via an expense claim. Don’t get me wrong – in a perfect world “Job done”… Tick, well done!!! You did my job for me…
We all know the best laid plans often unravel and this situation was no different. It’s probably no surprise to you that the first hiccup occurred on the Monday (with travel due to commence on the Thursday). The client called and advised they had tested positive for Covid over the weekend and would be in isolation all week, so would need to reschedule. I don’t think there is a soul alive who cant relate to the inconvenience of Covid so “best wishes for recover” were exchanged, and a new date was set for the following week. Another Tick, Well done!!
Now comes the fun part….
As I mentioned the client had purchased their airfare directly online with the airline. As the date was set in stone they opted for the cheapest fare. It is not surprising to regular travellers to know the T&C’s of the cheapest fare are also the most restrictive. The ticket was non-refundable, and restrictions did apply for the change. Of course, this is what they discovered after a lengthy period on hold to the airline to make this change. Chalk it up to a cost of doing business.
Now to change the hotel. Also booked online. This time using a third-party website. Unfortunately, it turned out that the room type booked had also been the cheapest available and was non-refundable. “Use it or lose it”, and on this occasion – lose it was the outcome. Disappointing, but with no alternative a new booking was made. This time though, the new booking did make it directly with the hotel over the phone as they failed to get a response or assistance via the third party website the original booking was made via which is a common complaint heard by people who opt to book travel themselves.
The good news for my friend was as they were so accommodating with this potential new client, they were then rewarded with a referral to another. This person also reached out and wanted to arrange a “face to face” meeting while they were in the North Island. Problem being, they were Tauranga based. And now there was a rental car to add to the mix.
To cut a long story short, the hotel didn’t have onsite parking but could arrange it for an additional $40 per day. Adding this trip on also meant the flights needed to be changed again, and overall. A rental car to be organised, additional accommodation in Tauranga etc etc. A lot of time and effort was put into organising the travel requirements for this very simple trip.
Now imagine for one moment that this trip wasn’t just between the North Island and the South Island. Imagine this is an international trip for work with multiple countries involved. Numerous airlines and hotels… and just imagine how many hours this would have taken to sort out.
They asked me if I would be interested in assisting with their travel arrangements moving forward. They didn’t think I would be interested because their travel requirements were too small. My reply was “There is no such thing as too small”. I was happy to take on their future travel and implement some policies that would ultimately save them time and money moving forward.
The real cost of something is “What you forego to get something”, and for my friend they physically lost money due to making the wrong type of booking – but also wasted time fixing it. That lost time has a true cost too!!
If your company travel’s for work, do you have the best processes in place? Or is your annual travel spend costing you time and money? If you would like to take a “deep-dive” into your systems and have a discussion about how I can assist please do get in touch. Don’t wait until you are trying to unravel a disaster as often you will find that’s when it’s too late.