Expedia Group builds streamlined global corporate travel with Egencia
Posted: 8 July 2021
The world shops for the best travel deals with Expedia Group (EG), the parent company of household brands such as Expedia, Hotels.com, Orbitz and Travelocity, making travel a regular part of business for thousands of EG employees worldwide. However, with operations across the globe, the team needed a consistent and streamlined booking process to optimise both efficiency and safety, and turned to Egencia for modern corporate travel management solutions.
Streamlining global business travel operations for greater visibility
When Expedia Group began work to transform its corporate travel programme, one of the main objectives was consolidating workflow. As with many global companies, the travel process was segmented, which made for more manual work and less visibility in terms of travel management. ‘One of the main things we were hoping to achieve immediately was consolidating the number of points of sale in our system. In other words, our travel programme was very fragmented with multiple sites for each of the business units,’ explained Corbie Brumbeloe, EG’s Director of Global Procurement and Corporate Travel.
‘Because of Egencia’s ability to integrate with our HR personnel system and automate user profiles, we’ve reduced the number of points of sale in our system from 65 down to 25,’ she shared. And this change alone is supplying the EG team with the clarity to make decisions based on visible travel patterns. For example, the team now receives notifications when someone is booking out of policy, and this is tracked to just one business unit for each of EG’s brands, no matter where travel occurs.
And because travel is on pause due to COVID-19, they’re working with Egencia to integrate more business travel tools to meet long-term strategic goals to save in the future.
‘[Our Account Manager] Jim is a huge help in keeping us on track towards our long-term targets and connecting us to the right resources within Egencia. With travel suspended [due to COVID-19], we’re looking at bigger projects such as travel for meetings and groups. The Egencia consulting team has a wealth of knowledge and expertise on these topics and we continue to collaborate with them and our account manager to make ongoing improvements,’ shared Brumbeloe.
New corporate travel solutions lead to big savings
In today’s unpredictable business travel environment, reducing cost is essential for procurement teams looking to align with their company’s business aims. And with Egencia’s tools and systems in place, EG is seeing significant savings. ‘As a part of the global procurement team, savings are always top of mind for us,’ said Brumbeloe. And in 2019, EG realised seven million US dollars in travel management savings.
EG’s Global Corporate Travel Manager, Megan Reynolds, shared that building a more robust negotiated rates programme for hotels played a large part in finding those savings. ‘We’ve seen significant savings through our new hotel RFP programme. Prior to working with the Egencia consulting team, we were manually requesting RFPs and negotiating rates in major cities where our team frequently travels,’ she said. ‘The Egencia team already has negotiated rates, which saved us a lot of time and money. They were also able to make suggestions for hotels that we didn’t already have a relationship with that met our criteria.’
‘Another way we’re able to save is using Egencia’s tools to monitor unused tickets,’ said Brumbeloe. ‘Unused tickets were never an issue before [COVID-19], but now they have the potential to be costly. Using a customised dashboard in Egencia Analytics Studio to track unused tickets, we can make sure credits are being used and reduce losses due to cancellations. These insights are essential for predicting upcoming costs.’
Optimising risk management standards with Egencia’s traveller safety solutions
Beyond monitoring unused tickets to minimise financial loss, EG also responded to COVID-19 by working with Egencia to put in place the highest-possible traveller safety standards. ‘We’re working with our account manager to understand industry best practices during this unprecedented time in business travel and relying on Egencia’s expertise to make sure the right tools are in place when our team is back on the road,’ shared Reynolds.
Beyond ensuring that the right risk management tools are in place, Reynolds understands that traveller trust also means having the right resources available. She’s building several resource pages on the company’s intranet that will act as a quick guide for current government and country guidelines, travel restrictions and safety precautions. These resources also include details about the safety standards at various hotel chains. On this, she said,
‘We want our travellers to feel confident knowing that they have enough knowledge to make informed decisions before travelling.’
And the current situation highlights why EG’s target of creating uniform corporate travel practices across the globe is important not just for efficiency, but also for safety. ‘Making sure our entire team, in every region, is using the same process on Egencia makes it possible to both manage travel policy and promote traveller well-being. If someone books outside of Egencia, we don’t have the same visibility and we can’t communicate with them as efficiently,’ shared Brumbeloe.
As the Expedia Group team looks to travel post COVID-19, they know that the long-term investment in building a robust and modern business travel programme means relying on complete data and customised reporting to adapt travel policy, optimise traveller safety standards and analyse for savings opportunities.
‘The pandemic has put a spotlight on what we do internally with travel at EG, and we’re using this time to promote lines of communication with our leadership team.’ Reynolds added, ‘With little to no travel currently, it’s a good time to strengthen the foundational elements of our programme, such as safety. And we’re actively working with the Egencia team to streamline operations and keep our travellers safe.’