Roderick Ross.JPGA corporate travel manager has to understand a travel market place that involves travel suppliers, agencies and technology providers. This all the while managing a controllable expenditure that ranks the 2nd largest for organisations globally.

In a bid to assist travel managers, whether new to the commodity or with experience under their belts, Dr. Roderick Ross, CEO of online travel management platform TravelLinck, will pen a series of articles for SmartProcurement analysing the various aspects of the end-to-end travel procurement process.

The travel market place deals with a product that behaves like a perishable commodity, which is, therefore, subject to complex pricing and supplier revenue management techniques, say Ross.

“If an aeroplane takes off with an empty seat, or a hotel room is empty for a day, this is a lost opportunity and revenue they will never earn. Someone may book at a later date, but that doesn’t help the supplier.”

The travel commodity also evokes very emotive reactions from the travellers using it. A delayed flight, a dirty room or a poorly serviced rental car affects the traveller’s productivity, well-being and safety, notes Ross.

In order to satisfy the needs of executive management, travellers and the finance department, the travel manager needs to understand the end-to-end travel procurement process. Specifically, they need to understand how travel is requested, how it is authorised, the selection of vendors (suppliers and agencies), the booking of the most suitable deal, payments, reporting and reconciliation of the travel spend to the relevant cost centre.

With a space that involves a complex commodity and an emotive experience, more and more organisations are seeing that service and technology can fit hand in glove to deliver an optimal solution to their needs.

To launch this end-to-end travel procurement series, Ross will discuss the points you must have in place when initially requesting travel services, in next month’s SmartProcurement.

TravelLinck are pleased to endorse SmartProcurement World 2011 and will be exhibiting and participating in the SmartSourcing Conference and EXPO 11 & 12 October 2011 at Gallagher Convention Centre, Midrand, Gauteng. To register email events@smartprocurement.co.za