ACE Travel Management ATG UK named Employer of the Year at the London Chamber of Commerce SME London Business Awards 2024

We’re proud to announce that we have been awarded Employer of the Year at the prestigious London Chamber of Commerce SME London Business Awards 2024. 

With over three decades of experience, our dedication to employee growth and satisfaction has created an environment where team members across all levels flourish, develop skills, and deliver exemplary service to clients.

Sarah Wilson, our CEO here at ACE Travel Management, stated, “Being given this award is an incredible honour. It is a testament to the top-down commitment our leadership team has made to create a workplace where our employees are motivated, engaged, and empowered.” 

“This recognition reflects our unrelenting commitment to supporting our employees so they can, in turn, drive our business and service our clients at the highest levels.”

We attribute our recognition to industry-leading professional development programs, employee recognition initiatives, work-life balance policies, competitive benefits packages, and regular team-building activities that contribute to its supportive company culture.

The London Chamber of Commerce SME London Business Awards event was held on 8th February at the stunning Park Plaza London Riverbank. Our team enjoyed a wonderful night celebrating enterprises that have made significant contributions across various sectors to London’s economic landscape.

If you want to learn more about what we do here at ACE Travel Management, take a look at our story and values here

Business Travel Reporting: What to Expect

In today’s fast-paced business landscape, efficient travel management is crucial for companies. Managing business travel effectively involves more than just booking flights and accommodations; it requires comprehensive reporting and analytics to optimise expenses, improve traveller experience, and enhance decision-making. 

Streamlined expense reporting

One of the primary aspects of business travel reporting is expense management. A reputable travel management service will provide you with streamlined expense reporting tools that simplify the process for your employees. These tools typically include automated expense tracking, digital receipts, and integration with popular accounting software. By leveraging these features, you can ensure accurate expense reporting, reduce administrative burdens, and enable better financial planning.

Travel policy compliance tracking

Business travel reporting tools can monitor compliance by tracking preferred airlines, accommodation options, and maximum allowable expenses. These reports provide insights into policy adherence, enabling you to identify trends, address non-compliance issues, and refine your travel policies as necessary.

By analysing the compliance reports, you can identify any instances of policy violations or areas where the policies may need to be updated. This data-driven approach helps create a culture of compliance and supports efficient decision-making regarding travel policy improvements.

Traveller safety and risk management

A robust business travel management service offers reporting and analytics capabilities that focus on traveller safety and risk management. This includes providing real-time travel updates, emergency contact information, and access to traveller tracking. By analysing travel data, the service can identify potential risks, facilitate emergency response, and support duty of care obligations.

Through the reporting and analytics features, you can proactively assess any risks associated with travel. For instance, the service can provide real-time updates on travel advisories, security alerts, and weather conditions. By having access to such information, you can make informed decisions regarding travel plans and take necessary precautions.

Performance metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs)

A reliable travel management service can provide reports that analyse various KPIs, including travel spend, savings achieved, traveller satisfaction, and supplier performance. By measuring these metrics, you can identify areas for improvement, negotiate better contracts, and make data-driven decisions to enhance overall travel program performance.

These performance metrics and KPIs help you evaluate the effectiveness of your travel program and identify areas where cost savings can be achieved. For example, by analysing travel spend reports, you can identify patterns of excessive spending and take steps to address them. Furthermore, tracking traveller satisfaction metrics allows you to gauge the quality of the travel experience and make necessary adjustments to improve it.

Forecasting and budgeting

By analysing trends and patterns, you can anticipate costs, allocate budgets effectively, and align your travel program with the organisation’s financial goals.

By utilising the forecasting and budgeting features, you can project the anticipated costs for your business travel program. Historical travel data, combined with other relevant factors such as anticipated business growth and market conditions, can help you determine the appropriate budget allocation. This data-driven approach enables you to set realistic targets and allocate resources efficiently.

Data visualisation and dashboards

Visualising data is crucial for understanding complex travel information quickly. A comprehensive reporting and analytics service should offer user-friendly dashboards and data visualisation tools. These features allow you to view travel data in a visually appealing and easy-to-understand format. Through interactive charts, graphs, and maps, you can gain actionable insights, track performance, and identify trends effortlessly.

The data visualisation and dashboard capabilities provide an intuitive way to explore and interpret your travel data. By presenting the information in visually appealing formats, such as interactive charts or heatmaps, you can easily identify patterns and trends that might be hidden in raw data. This visual representation of data empowers you to make data-driven decisions more effectively.

Supplier negotiations and benchmarking

Business travel reporting tools often include benchmarking capabilities to compare your company’s travel spend and performance against industry standards. This data empowers you to negotiate better contracts with suppliers and identify potential cost-saving opportunities. By leveraging these insights, you can strengthen your supplier relationships, optimise your travel budget, and secure the best possible deals.

By accessing benchmarking reports, you can gauge how your company’s travel spend compares to industry averages. This information can be invaluable during negotiations with airlines, hotels, and other travel service providers. Armed with accurate benchmarking data, you can leverage your negotiating power and secure preferential rates or discounts, leading to cost savings for your business.

Business travel reporting and analytics is a non-negotiable

When choosing a business travel management service, robust reporting and analytics capabilities should be high on your priority list. The ability to access comprehensive reports, expense tracking, compliance monitoring, performance metrics, and data visualisation ensures that you have a clear understanding of your travel program’s effectiveness and can make informed decisions. By partnering with a reliable service, you can optimise your business travel, enhance traveller experience, and achieve significant cost savings while driving your organisation toward success.

If you want your business travels to be tracked and broken down, get in touch with travel consultants at ACE Travel to see what we can do for you.

Founder Sarah Wilson shares thoughts on LCCI Report: ‘Green skies – Supporting the Aviation Sector to Decarbonise’

London Chamber of Commerce has released its report: ‘Green skies – Supporting the Aviation Sector to Decarbonise’, and our very own founder Sarah Wilson has shared her insights.

The report highlights the contributions of the aviation industry to the local, London and national economies – as well as an insight into the efforts being made to decarbonise the sector, and the steps needed to further accelerate the transition to a more sustainable aviation industry.

“According to Sustainable Aviation, SAF can reduce lifecycle carbon emissions by at least 70% compared to fossil fuels. It presents an opportunity to start having an immediate impact on UK aviation emissions by the mid-2020s and reduce aviation emissions by at least 32% in 2050.”

As a leading business travel management company in the UK, ACE Travel Management is passionate about making travel more sustainable. We work closely with our clients to help make their travel programmes more environmentally responsible. Reports like this are valuable resources to gain new insight from and understand how stakeholders across the industry can help build a better future for travel.

Sarah Wilson offered her thoughts “Off-setting is all very well but we must now heed advice of the experts for the future of decarbonisation of travel, simply saying, don’t travel is not an option that is either desirable or economically viable”.

Dive into the report here:

Bleisure Travel: 10 Tips to Manage Compliance

Bleisure travel, the blending of business and leisure trips, has become a popular trend among employees. While it can be a great way for your staff to unwind and recharge during work-related travel, it also presents compliance challenges. 

Whether you are a small business owner booking travel or a key decision-maker within a larger corporation, in this guide we’ll explore how you can ensure your employees stay compliant with your company’s travel policy when embarking on bleisure trips. From navigating pre-travel processes to checking business travel insurance coverage, here are our top 10 tips to keep your staff safe and compliant when travelling.

1. Clear Travel Policy Communication

The foundation of compliance begins with a well-communicated travel policy. Make sure your business travel policy is comprehensive and clearly articulated. Ensure that your staff understands the policy’s nuances, especially as they pertain to bleisure travel. The document should address areas such as allowable expenses, reimbursement procedures, and compliance expectations. Even for small businesses, having a robust travel policy in place is crucial for bleisure travel success.

2. Pre-Travel Approval Process

Implement a pre-travel approval process specifically designed for bleisure trips. Ask employees to submit their travel itineraries in advance, clearly indicating the business and leisure segments. This allows you to review and approve their plans, ensuring that business obligations are not compromised and that leisure activities adhere to your policy.

3. Review Business Travel Insurance

Business travel insurance is a linchpin of bleisure travel compliance. It’s essential to review your company’s insurance policy to make sure it adequately covers bleisure travel scenarios. Pay particular attention to aspects such as coverage during leisure activities and liability concerns that may arise when employees mix business and leisure. Consider offering supplementary insurance for leisure activities that fall outside the policy’s scope.

4. Emphasise Compliance Benefits

Educate your employees about the benefits of compliance. Make it clear that adhering to the travel policy, even during bleisure trips, safeguards their interests. Compliance ensures they are covered in case of emergencies, reduces liability risks, and simplifies expense reporting and reimbursement procedures.

5. Documentation and Reporting

Stress the importance of thorough documentation and reporting. Encourage employees to maintain detailed travel logs that clearly delineate business-related activities from leisure ones. This documentation serves as valuable evidence of compliance and streamlines the reimbursement process.

6. Regular Compliance Audits

Implement periodic compliance audits to ensure that employees are adhering to the travel policy during bleisure trips. These audits can be random or scheduled, and can include expense report reviews and discussions with travellers about their experiences. Audits not only help identify areas of non-compliance, but also demonstrate your commitment to enforcing the policy.

7. Incentivise Compliance

Consider introducing incentives for compliance. Recognise and reward employees who consistently adhere to the travel policy during bleisure trips. This can be in the form of bonuses, extra annual leave days, or other perks. Incentives provide a positive reinforcement mechanism that encourages compliance.

8. Foster Open Communication

Promote a culture of open communication between employees and the travel management team. Encourage staff to discuss their bleisure travel plans and seek guidance when unsure about compliance matters. By fostering a transparent environment, you can address concerns and potential issues proactively.

9. Leverage Travel Management Software

Invest in travel management software that can facilitate compliance monitoring. These tools can help track expenses, generate reports, and provide insights into employee travel patterns. They streamline the process of ensuring that business objectives are met during bleisure trips. With the right technology, you can keep all your travel policy records in one secure, easy-to-access place.

10. Conduct Training and Workshops

Regularly conduct training and workshops on travel policy compliance. Equip your employees with the knowledge and resources they need to understand and adhere to the policy, especially in the context of bleisure travel. These sessions can clarify policy nuances and address any questions or concerns.

Finding the right balance

Bleisure travel can be a win-win for both your employees and your business. However, maintaining compliance is essential to mitigate risks and uphold company policies. By effectively communicating your travel policy, implementing approval processes, reviewing business travel insurance, and incentivising compliance, you can strike a balance between employee satisfaction and policy adherence. Regular audits, open communication, and the use of travel management software further enhance your ability to ensure compliance during bleisure trips. Ultimately, a well-managed bleisure travel program can boost employee morale and productivity while safeguarding your company’s interests.Want to discuss your business travel compliance with an expert? Contact us today and one of our friendly team members will be happy to help.

Travel Booking for Small Businesses: The Dos and Don’ts

In the world of small businesses, every expense matters, and that includes business travel. Managing travel bookings effectively can optimise your operations, maximise your budget, and streamline your travel policies. 

In this guide, we’ll explore the dos and don’ts of travel booking for small businesses, helping you make the most of your business journeys.

Do Consider More Sustainable Travel

Sustainability is no longer a buzzword; it’s a business imperative. When booking travel for your small business, think about the environmental impact:

Is there a way to combine multiple meetings within one trip? 

Frequent short trips can be costly and disruptive. Instead, consider consolidating travel into longer, more purposeful trips. This reduces travel-related expenses and minimises disruptions to your business operations.

Can travellers reach their destination via train instead of flying? 

Whilst the industry is making positive steps towards using sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), train travel is still the number one choice for eco-friendly transport. It’s often the more comfortable and convenient choice too, so do consider train travel when booking national and short-haul trips.

What sustainability policies does the hotel uphold? 

The accommodation your business travellers stay at is just as important as the transport you use to get them there. These days, most hotels will have clearly defined sustainability policies and best practices to help reduce their carbon footprint, so be sure to ask for these ahead of booking. 

Don’t Assume Your Staff Understand Your Travel Policies

Clear communication is key. Your travel policies may be well-documented, but don’t assume your staff knows them inside out. Ensure your employees are aware of your travel policies and understand their importance. Hold training sessions if needed and provide easily accessible policy documents.

Don’t Neglect Business Travel Compliance

Compliance with regulations and business travel policies is essential in mitigating risk, optimising costs and operations, and also for ensuring proper management of your business’ reputation. Non-compliance can lead to hefty fines and other legal issues, which can pose significant challenges, especially for small businesses.

To ensure compliance, be sure to research the latest rules and requirements for travel in the destination country, make your business travel policy easy to access for all travellers and get comprehensive coverage for business travel insurance. Travel always comes with its share of uncertainties. As such, it’s vital to have good business travel insurance in place to safeguard your business from unexpected disruptions and ensure your operations continue smoothly even when things go awry.

Do Create Clear Guidelines Around Bleisure Travel

Bleisure travel, combining business and leisure, is a growing trend. To manage it effectively, set clear guidelines. Define what is and isn’t permissible during bleisure trips to maintain professionalism while allowing employees to enjoy some downtime.

Don’t Forget About Traveller Well-being and Safety

Your employees’ well-being and safety should always be a top priority, especially as duty of care is a legal and moral obligation for all businesses. Incorporating safety measures into your travel policies ensures your staff are well-prepared for their journeys, keeping them safe but also protecting your business. Make sure to also provide resources to support your employees in case of emergencies.

Do Consider Partnering with a TMC (Travel Management Company)

Small businesses can benefit greatly from partnering with a reputable TMC that can offer expertise, cost-saving strategies, and technology solutions that simplify travel management and reduce expenses.

From travel booking systems to traveller dashboards, the digital tools that TMCs can provide are particularly effective at optimising travel booking for small businesses. These solutions help track expenses, ensure policy compliance, and provide insights that empower travel bookers to make informed decisions.

Travel with confidence

Efficient travel booking is crucial for small businesses looking to maximise budgets and streamline operations. By following the dos and don’ts outlined here, you can ensure your business travel is cost-effective, compliant, and safe. 

If you’d like to understand how to manage your small business travel booking, speak to our team today. We’re here to help you make the most of your business journeys.

3 Ways Business Travel Is Still Being Affected By 2020

From virtual meetings to remote work – it’s no surprise that the business travel landscape has changed dramatically in recent years.

As the industry continues to grow and evolve, so does the way we travel. Whilst this knock-on effect may at first seem negative, with higher average fare costs and fewer business travel opportunities – It’s important to look at the data and see what’s really going on in the world of business travel. 

Thanks to data recorded by the Advantage Travel Partnership, we can examine just how much business travel has changed in the past three years – including the steep rise in business travel fares. 

Here are three ways that business travel is still being affected by 2020:

Average transaction value

After a reduction in schedules in 2020, resulting in airlines retiring planes early and ending routes altogether in 2021, the return of travel has seen added costs for planes and new pilot training. This, along with the general rise in price for both necessities and energy, has resulted in steeper fares when it comes to business travel. This can be seen when we compare the average transaction value for the period 01 January 2023 to 31 May 2023 (£432.35) with the same 5-month period in 2022 (£298.47). This shows fares to be 44.9% higher in 2023, and 6.5% higher than the whole-year average for 2022 (£406.12)

It’s clear then, as a result of 2020, business travel fares are seeing a steep rise. But this isn’t the only interesting metric to arise from the study – we’re also seeing two key behavioural changes in businesses that stem directly from this increase.

Average advanced purchase

From the period of 01 January 2023 to 31 May 2023, we have seen an average advanced purchase of 31.6 days, exceeding the 2019 total average by 8.2 days. This means that, as travellers take heed of getting better prices by booking in advance, they are starting to optimise their travel programmes. Gaining lower fares and guaranteed places for hotels and transfers. 

Average trip duration

As well as the increase in average advanced purchases, we are also experiencing higher average trip duration. In fact, the average trip duration has increased by 15.6% since last year alone, seeing an all-time high of 8.2 days. This is due to businesses being more purposeful with their travel – exchanging one-meeting trips for longer trips that better suit their business strategies. 

What does this mean?

The driving force of these changes comes from business travellers realising the potential of more purposeful travel. By booking early and staying longer, business trips can be optimised. Hosting several meetings across the duration of one trip can generate higher ROI, drive cost efficiency and, overall, balance out the costs of higher fares. Best of all – optimising travel in this way can see some wonderful benefits to sustainability practices overall. 

Business travel has seen many changes as a result of 2020

From rising business travel fares, higher advance purchases and longer average trip durations, it is clear that the travel industry is still seeing significant effects from 2020. However, we are also seeing companies become more efficient with their business travel programmes. Data shows that we’re saying goodbye to single-meeting trips, and leaving last-minute planning in the past. 

Amongst the many uncertainties that the future of travel may bring, one thing is for certain – becoming more purposeful in our planning is the future. Empowering us all to be more sustainable, cost-effective, and overall more in control of our travel strategies.

If you have further questions or want to learn more about purposeful travel, get in touch with our team.