But BBC takes broader approach
Two contrasting travel management styles to cope with the economic downturn were outlined at the annual conference of the UK and Ireland Institute of Travel Management today (March 25) in Liverpool.
Ben Varey, EMEA travel manager for Credit Suisse, said his company had introduced "more stringent" travel policies in the last 12 months.
But Jamie Hindhaugh, head of sourcing at the BBC, said its approach has broadened to allow the 18 companies in the corporation to adopt their own measures.
Mr Varey said his policy was mandated and there was a "high level of compliance."
But since the economic downturn it was paying more attention to concepts like demand management.
He said the bank had moved away from back end reporting and there were now daily reports efficiency managers which could be acted upon immediately.
"If there were five people going on the same trip you could be asked 'Do you need five people?' This have never been questioned before. It is now a very different world to what we had before," he said.
Attitudes to travel had also become more stringent for non-client meetings.
Travellers were asked if the trip was really necessary and whether it could not be done through video conferencing or telephone conferencing.
If the trip went ahead, bookings had to be made seven days in advance where possible.
Credit Suisse had also introduced a "lowest logical hotel" policy where travellers stayed in the least expensive, suitable property although Mr Varey stressed that safety came before price.
The policy included geographical zones and hotel categories to guide travellers.
He said there was also a "heavy handed" approach if travellers booked outside the designated travel agency. Only a portion of their bill would be re-imbursed," he said. "It is a pretty effective measure."
Mr Hindhaugh said the BBC had first introduced a travel policy in 2001 and had changed it twice since then.
The first one was mandated and had a price cap but no enough management information was coming in to see if it was working.
The second was brought in in 2003 and coincided with the BBC going online. It led to all rail journeys being booked online and 65% of flights.
Mr Hindhaugh said that visual guilt also played a part "and this does actually work."
But he also said he found that with a price cap of £105 for a London hotel, travellers were looking for hotels just below that level.
But last year, he said, the corporation decided it would reduce its travel spend by 10% a year for the next three years.
"We looked at a new era of online booking tools which gave the operators a chance to steer their policy. In some areas we took out choice without people realising but in others we had choice where it was needed," he said.
Each of the 18 BBC companies was asked to take ownership of and responsibility for its own travel policy.
"Some companies took the option of pre-trip approval but not the news department which is flying people around the world. But there was a portfolio of tools for all the companies from which they could pick," he said.
"One company decided it would not use flights within England but go by train."
Each company now reports on its policy and spend so these can be compared.
"This includes waiting times, how many travelled business class, the number of people who are travelling. It is really, really effective. You have got self-management," Mr Hindhaugh said.