3 Questions Featured

7:00pm EDT November 25, 2008

Toni Corsanico has worked as a travel manager at Westinghouse Lighting Corp. for 15 years. By organizing the travel needs of the company’s 2,500 employees, she can better police company spending by employees. Using vendors, publishing an annual travel policy and detailing price caps on all facets of travel, she tracks where the business’s travel dollars go.

Q. Is a travel policy important for companies of all sizes?

Yes. Companies want to save money regardless of their size, and a travel policy is key in that formula. Having a travel policy means your company has a plan that will allow them to predict the company’s future needs based on the reports and adjust that to economic changes within or outside of the company. The annually updated policy is a playbook that forecasts travel for upcoming trips, which should be validated on a case-by-case basis depending on how beneficial it is to the company.

Q. What types of problems can arise within a company that can affect the travel budget?

If a company is experiencing difficult economic times — aside from the economy and events that affect every business, they may need to lay off employees depending on the magnitude of the issue. Steps taken before more drastic measures can include altering budgets, such as travel. We have cut back on intra-company travel significantly and put the bulk of our travel dollars toward traveling to meet the needs of our customers. We still needed to meet with employees in other states, but that travel wasn’t in the budget so we utilized videoconferencing, which is very effective for several reasons. With videoconferencing, you can save money on air travel and food, meet with more people at once, stay in the comfort of your own office, and bypass the lines and delays. You’re not trying to impress co-workers or prove dedication to service like you are with clients. Videoconferencing and teleconferencing works 99 percent of the time.

Q. What are companies’ biggest concerns with travel?

The first concern when there is a problem and before there’s a problem is the cost. Budgets fall apart, and everything becomes unhinged. There are lots of things that can go wrong with travel. Overstepping your budget unnecessarily isn’t one of them.