Travel program leakage is a travel manager’s worst nightmare. Leakage happens when employees bypass your corporate travel program and book outside of your approved online booking tool (OBT) or travel management company (TMC). This affects your travel spend and prevents you from capturing important data. While travel leakage was always an issue, thanks to Covid-19, it is occurring more frequently than ever before.
Normally, when leakage occurs, you lose transparency, making it harder to provide a proper duty of care for travelers and the people they meet. During an unprecedented global pandemic, that’s a scary thought. But now that lack of transparency could mean hundreds of thousands of dollars lost or unaccounted for.
Leakage and Covid, a nightmare
When flights were cancelled and credits issued, many of the credits and vouchers were sent directly to the traveler. Now, credits may exist outside of the travel program, ready to be used outside of approved booking tools. Many unused tickets, refunds, and vouchers issued this year are likely missing, misunderstood, or misused by the traveler. Also, if any ex-employee had a voucher or credit in their name when they left, they may have the ability to still use this value.
With so many opportunities for out-of-policy bookings to take place during a time when safety is crucial and belts have never been tighter, minimizing travel program leakage is a must.
“About 6% of T&E annually, or about $60,000 for every $1 million in expenses, is out of compliance”
So how do we do that?
Right now there are several things Travel Managers can do to prevent leakage. The first is ensuring your program and policies are well designed. Since most of your travelers aren’t flying, now is the best time to implement policies to prevent fight leakage. Taking advantage to improve your program now will pay dividends when travel returns.
The second thing you can do is gain transparency now, especially into your unused tickets. If you can’t fully monitor your program then you can’t protect it from leakage. Getting transparency now will yield a huge return, both now and later.
Our Unused Tickets Tracker reveals hidden refund opportunities
For three of our top clients, we’ve used our access to additional GDS data to find large numbers of refundable airline tickets highlighted by our proprietary travel data analytics and insight technology.
Getting Transparency Now: Track Vouchers, Refunds, and Unused Tickets
If you don’t know how many vouchers, refunds, and unused tickets exist, then you face some huge challenges.
- Not knowing how many credits you have means you can’t plan how to use them or stop them from expiring
- If you can’t track them, then you have no idea when someone uses them when they shouldn’t
This was a large problem even before Covid-19, our internal data shows that in 2019 5% of tickets remained unused. Now the problem is larger than ever and potentially will be until the end of 2021. This is why you need transparency right now.
Software like our Unused Ticket Tracker helps you stop leakage before it occurs and provides insights that your TMC and OBT may be missing. You’ll be able to see all of your unused tickets, even finding new opportunities to get refunds for unused, unflown, and unrefunded tickets. Once you have the complete picture you’ll be able to find and prevent sources of leakage. Unused Tickets will monitor and track all your vouchers giving you full visibility into how they’re used. If they’re booked outside of your program you’ll know right away and can act accordingly. You can rest assured knowing that you will be alerted by FairFly if any employee uses credits or vouchers for personal travel. We will even help identify cases where vouchers exist in ex-employees names and help you recover them.
Travel program leakage causes enough chaos to your program during normal times. Now more than ever having data on money you’re owed helps you ensure the money gets used how and when it should. If you’re interested in learning more check out how the Unused Ticket Tracker will help you stop leakage or to see a demonstration contact us.