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by Matt Alderton | November 05, 2014
Travel managers' largest costs are fees charged by travel management companies (TMCs). However, those same TMCs offer long-term savings that easily justify their upfront cost.

So concludes the GBTA Foundation, the education and research arm of the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), in a new study of managed travel programs. The study, titled "What Costs and Savings Do Managed Travel Programs Experience?" is based on a survey of nearly 200 U.S.-based travel managers of companies with a global or multi-national presence. Sponsored by Accor, it found that TMCs provide substantial benefits for managed travel programs, including: standard data reports and dashboards (91 percent); ticket management, including the ability to void a ticket (86 percent) and track and reassign tickets that are about to expire (82 percent); and experience and leverage with suppliers (73 percent).

"Across the board, we found that travel managers understand that the benefits of long-term travel savings far outweigh the upfront costs having a travel management company," GBTA Foundation Vice President of Research Joseph Bates said in a statement. "By using TMCs, businesses have a partner that brings valuable experience and leverage with suppliers to the table."

Travel managers' biggest savings, the study found, come from negotiated discounts (90 percent), better policy management (81 percent), and more efficient processes (79 percent).

"In summary, the challenges of business travel mirror the increasing complexity of the business environment, with its internationalization and spiraling travel expenditure. Undoubtedly data collection is today's key issue, but companies also need to be able to interpret it in the most efficient way" said Vanessa Heydorff, vice president of business travel at Accor. "Companies are all looking for solutions that streamline every stage of the business travel process. Internationalization, the emergence of new behaviors, new input from digital technology, the multiplication of people involved, and the whole problem of tracking down every cost item -- this new context calls for a totally new approach to business travel. The heightened complexity of the travel ecosystem and the need for companies to better control their costs in difficult trading conditions have given data an even more pivotal role in corporate life."