Small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are a large contributor to a growing globalized workforce, with SMEs collectively represent approximately 90% of all businesses and more than 50% of employment worldwideaccording to data from the World Bank.
SMEs have the ability to grow their business at a faster rate than large companies by adopting the tried and tested strategies, technologies and practices of successful larger organizations.
In the post-pandemic environment, SMEs have also resumed their business travel activity at a faster rate than large organizations because they are not subject to the approval processes, travel policies and compliance mechanisms of larger, more complex travel programs.
The ‘fear of missing out’
According to McKinsey & Company, this early resumption of SME business travel is likely to cause a ripple effect within the segment, with competitors taking to the skies to retain their customers and prospect new ones. This ‘fear of missing out’ (FOMO) segment of business travel made up 60% of corporate travel expenditure in 2019. “SMEs are likely to trigger a domino effect where one company’s resumption of business trips will catalyze its rivals’ return to work-related travel. Faced with intense competition, different players in the company (leadership, management, staff) coalesce to reinstate corporate travel at scale to seize the first-mover advantage over rival businesses.”
Despite the ‘fear of missing out’ fueling the SME market, not all SMEs use the services of a professional travel management company (TMC) and those that don’t may be missing out on other significant competitive advantages; cost savings through global purchasing power and internal efficiencies, and risk reduction through duty of care solutions.
Travel solutions drive speed and efficiency
A pre-pandemic study conducted by YouGov, an international research data and analytics group, revealed that the average small business was taking a total of 88 minutes to plan and book a business tripand even longer for those companies with more than 50 employees. Medium-size enterprises were spending an additional 12 minutes, with individual travel bookings taking 100 minutes to complete on average. In the post-pandemic environment with more complex travel requirements and considerations, these booking times could be significantly longer. CTM’s proprietary online booking tool, Lightning, consolidates corporate deals on flights, hotels and car hire in a single, intuitive booking platform, enabling users to book their entire business travel itinerary in less than 90 seconds.
For SMEs, understanding the savings opportunities and ancillary advantages that a managed travel program can offer is now more important than ever, according to CTM Australia and New Zealand’s Chief Executive Officer, Greg McCarthy. “The SME market truly understands the high value of in-person engagement and building connections with not only customers but also their supply chain. This helps to drive sales, retain customers and ensure influential relationships with significant partners. With such a focus on business growth, having to manage a travel budget is often left by the wayside to make time for day-to-day operations. Reducing the time employees spend booking their business travel can significantly increase their productivity and allows them to spend more time focusing on their job at hand. That’s where professional booking platforms and travel expertise can return immediate gains. And of course, having access to a TMC’s global buying power for corporate negotiated airfares and hotel rates is an obvious win for small businesses which otherwise don’t hold significant supplier influence.”
Resources at many SMEs may have been stretched by the impacts of the global pandemic. Finding time to explore travel expenditure and strategize savings opportunities is not often top of mind for small businesses. A travel program that’s designed and optimized to drive savings and efficiency by streamlining and simplifying the travel management experience, supported by user-centric technology, 24/7 travel support and a dedicated Account Manager is a simple way for SMEs to achieve savings, efficiencies and risk mitigation for their business and employees.
Marc Gold, CTM Australia’s Client Value & SME Sales Manager explains “We listen to our customers to understand their needs, pain points, travel objectives and work alongside them as a trusted travel advisor in how best to manage their travel program. Acknowledging each business is different and at various stages of business growth, we understand for some it may not be necessary to have an online booking tool or complex approval hierarchy. The key is working with a TMC like CTM that provides flexible and highly personalized solutions ensuring a travel program that’s the right fit for their business goals.”
Travel solutions designed for small and growing businesses.
CTM offers a range of travel management solutions designed specifically for small and growing businesses. Self-service online travel booking platforms and mobile apps enable small business employees to book their travel anytime and anywhere via their preferred booking device, providing centralized access to an extensive range of travel content and travel insights (including health, travel restrictions and sustainability) all in one place. Additionally, businesses can tailor their travel program and tools to suit their business needs and objectives, with access to centralized and integrated travel reporting, spend optimization reviews, trip approval, traveler tracking and duty of care solutions and carbon offsetting under one roof. CTM’s solutions drive savings to your travel budget while delivering efficiency and safety for your traveling workforce, ensuring your team has time to focus on your business.