This month we discuss how having an effective travel policy will help your organization realize maximum savings within your travel budget.
            
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MacNair Travel's InFlight Newsletter

Hello there,

Welcome back to InFlight. This month we're sharing tips for regularly reviewing your corporate travel policy. Often times, a travel policy is something that is overlooked. When your policy is done right, it will keep your travelers safe, protect your company culture, improve your preferred supplier relationships and result in savings for your organization. Discover more information and our recommended tactics by reading through our first article. 

We are featuring a guest article from CSI globalVCard, detailing everything you need to know about virtual cards. As always - contact us with any questions you may have while reading.

We continue to add new tools to our website. Please visit often to get the most up-to-date information to help you manage your travel program effectively and efficiently.

Mike MacNair

Have a great week!

sig_mike

Mike MacNair
Owner & CEO

4 Tactics for Reviewing and Updating Your Travel Policy

4 Tactics for Reviewing and Updating Your Travel PolicyIt’s that time of year when we deep dive into providing consulting services to our customers regarding the best ways to manage T&E, the second largest controllable cost for the average U.S. organization. In providing guidance in how to best manage this line item, we start with a review of the organization’s travel and expense policy. Ensuring they are current, effective and complete, balanced, and in alignment with business objectives are the key benefits to updating this “job aide.” Sure, at times business process isn’t often top of mind and updating it can easily get put on the back burner. There always seems to be something that comes up that takes priority and distracts you from this task. In fact, many organizations have travel policies that no one has taken a look at, much less updated, in 10 years or more. On top of that, travelers are sometimes unaware that a policy even exists and they often go rogue.

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5 Things Every Travel Manager Needs to Know About Virtual Cards

5 Things Every Travel Manager Needs to Know About Virtual CardsA virtual credit card helps solve many pain points travel managers face in procuring business travel.  Virtual credit cards are on their way to becoming a ‘normal’ form of payment within the travel industry, so it is important to understand the basics.

  • WHO: Who should be using a virtual credit card?
  • WHAT: What is a virtual credit card and how does it apply to the travel industry?
  • WHEN: When should a virtual credit card be used?
  • WHERE: Where do virtual credit card numbers come from?
  • WHY: Why should travel managers use virtual credits to procure travel?

Who can benefit from a virtual credit card?

Technically any company can benefit from a virtual credit card for a number of reasons, but today we will focus on travel managers.  Corporate travel managers, travel management companies and the travelers themselves all see benefits from using virtual credit cards. The payment process and reconciliation process are in synch because booking and payment data are tied to a specific transaction.  Virtual cards allow for travel managers to customize data fields, which provides the ability to track and reconcile travel information any way needed.

What is a virtual credit card number?

A virtual credit card number is a unique 16-digit credit card number that is generated to settle a specific transaction.  The single use number is used in a similar way as a plastic credit card number is used except there is not physical card involved. Instead, the number is generated electronically and typically issued for an exact amount, which reduces the chances of credit card fraud and eliminates noncompliant travel charges.

When should a travel manager use a virtual credit card?

Virtual credit cards can be used to procure any travel reservation from hotel, air and car. But another important usage is eliminating the manual process of the hotel direct billing process. Credit card authorization forms are being automated to the hotel eliminating the need for the travel manager to fax each individual form to each hotel for each reservation.  Virtual card providers like CSI globalVCard offer the technology of a mobile app to partner with the virtual card allowing for a seamless check-in process when the antiquated fax confirmation fails.

Where do the virtual credit card numbers come from?

Licensed issuers generate the numbers from their Bank Identification Numbers, known as BINs. BIN is a term from the credit card industry that refers to a six-digit prefix number that is assigned to banks for electronic routing of transactions. You can learn more about BINs here.

Why should companies implement a virtual credit card solution?

There are a number of valuable reasons why businesses should adopt a virtual card solution: increased security, spending controls, automation and a simpler way to reconcile corporate travel expenses. Watch this video to learn how travel mangers benefit from using a virtual credit card: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z4NQwnaQNCQ 

Combine a virtual card system with a mobile app and you have powerful spending control!

When it comes to business travel, the CSI globalVCard travel solution combines the virtual card system with an innovative mobile app to provide powerful spending control through an automated process while ensuring compliance and reducing fraud. For more information about virtual cards in business to business payments, read “What is a virtual card?”

Learn More:
CSI globalVCard is the virtual card provider of choice for MacNair Travel. To learn more, please contact Juliann Pless of CSI globalVCard at [email protected] or 239.676.7825.

Airline Rule Changes Drive Increased Fares on Circle Trips 

Airline Rule Changes Drive Increased Fares on Circle Trips MacNair has experienced many major changes to the travel industry over the past 27 years. Unfortunately, the latest change that has come our way is causing many airfares to increase significantly. The largest three airlines – United, Delta and American – have changed rules on fare combinability, resulting in higher airfares on “circle” domestic trips (City A to City B to City C to City A), and trips involving travel from City A to City B to City C. Because of this rule change, booking airfare in the regular manner is resulting in fares that are hundreds if not thousands of dollars higher, forcing travelers and agents to create multiple transactions for one trip to get the best rates.

If this rule change continues, it will result in MacNair consultants and Quality Assurance Agents value engineering these trips in a new way to ensure the lowest possible fare. Fare increases have also occurred when itineraries have to use separate airlines. The legs of these itineraries may have to be booked separately to see the lowest fares and our team will be looking at all itineraries closely to ensure travelers receive the lowest fare and get the best value. Online bookings will also be reviewed and if they must be rebooked or split ticketed to realize the savings, a full service fee of $35 will be charged, instead of the normal online booking fee.

If you go onto any online booking tool now and try to book a circle trip or a trip with multiple airlines in one itinerary, you will most likely see higher than normal fares. This is not occurring just within MacNair’s booking tools.   We have researched airfares via publically and privately available sources (including Expedia, Kayak, Concur, and GetThere), and confirmed that no booking tool is able to handle most of these scenarios. Only when booking through MacNair’s system (call in or online) will you have someone checking each reservation and ensuring that you have received the best value.

MacNair will continue to closely monitor these changes with the airlines and will send out updates as they come to us, so keep an eye out for more alerts in the coming weeks. In the meantime, keep in mind that lower fares may be available for itineraries that include more than one airline, or have more than one destination or a return city. If you are booking travel for someone whose trip includes these criteria we advise that you call us for possible lower fares.

From The Travel Leadership Blog

Travel Management vs. Travel Agency: The Value is Clear

Travel Management vs. Travel Agency: The Value is ClearAccording to Skift, U.S. and foreign carriers flew more than 895 million passengers through U.S. airports in 2015 – a new record. Millions of people, both business and personal travelers, used online services to manage the sometimes-complicated travel booking and reservation system, many of them enlisting the services of a travel agency.

Business travelers benefit from organizations that utilize the services of a travel agency or travel management company (TMC) to effectively organize their travel services. Yet, travel agencies do not provide the high level and high value of service that a travel management company can provide to a business; and in fact, there continues to be a disconnect between the added value a TMC brings to your businesses’ corporate travel management program versus that of a travel agency.

Simply put, a TMC can create a clearer, more effective path to managing travel while at the same time, save your business valuable time and money and provide a systematic travel process, financial predictability and compliant travelling employees, even before the actual reservations are booked.

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Your Bottom Line is Deteriorating With Employee Booking

Your Bottom Line is Deteriorating With Employee Booking

With how busy employees can get, the last thing they want to worry about is how to travel in the cheapest way possible. In most cases, in their minds, they’ll simply expense it. This mindset can result in last minute bookings, unused airline tickets and choosing more expensive hotels. All of which can add up to tens of thousands of dollars in unnecessary T&E expenses over the course of the year.

This doesn’t even take into account the lost productivity that occurs when your employees book their own travel, which some reports say can be two or more hours spent comparing fares and schedules.

It’s no wonder that T&E is the second largest budget line item for most companies and that organizations want to take a closer look at the expenditures. There’s usually a lot of waste that can be cut once you fully assess the situation.

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Managed Travel Needs Assessment Checklist