Expert insights

Meetings management - the new approach to managing travel

9 October 2017 by Trevor Elswood

Following his presentation at The Business Travel Conference, Trevor Elswood discusses a new approach to travel management.

I was delighted to attend The Business Travel Conference (TBTC) 2017 to present a session on managing meetings. It gave me the opportunity to share a fresh perspective on managing business travel spend, compared to the traditional approach. From speaking to a number of buyers after the session, it’s a theme that hit a chord.

What’s the view?

I wanted to challenge why so many of the people tasked with managing travel miss the real opportunity. Meetings create travel demand and, having crunched the numbers, we found that internal meetings - those between colleagues - generate between 40% and 70% of an organisation’s travel spend.

Rather than treating meetings as the afterthought, we should start with effectively managing them.

Why do things need to change?

Experienced travel buyers will agree that there are real challenges in trying to reduce travel costs in mature programmes. Negotiated supplier deals are close to saturation, and policies can end up being tightened to levels that compromise traveller experiences and wellbeing which can also have a negative impact on organisations.

What’s the answer?

With a nodding of heads from the audience, I spoke about a new opportunity to enable smarter working. It's a vision that Capita Travel and Events has been tirelessly shaping. We’re looking to manage customers’ meetings by tackling unconscious decisions and helping reduce unnecessary travel.

We’re using our expertise and specialist technologies to influence behavioural change. To support the new thinking, we’ve built a powerful toolkit to help educate, inform, guide and challenge meeting hosts to do things differently.


It’s a simple turnkey approach:

  1. Identify who the meeting hosts are - those generating travel.
  2. Pro-actively introduce these hosts to alternatives to face-to-face meetings.
  3. Get hosts comfortable with the virtual meetings technologies available to them.
  4. If a meeting still requires attendees to travel, ensure meeting hosts are making informed decisions on the meeting location (internal office/external venue) that consider the overall time and cost of travel.

In summary

By putting meetings at the heart of travel, we’re unlocking the real opportunity – reduced costs and removal of unnecessary travel with its inherent wellbeing impact.

I quoted a raft of data and observations which I promised to share with the many inquisitive attendees of TBTC. Over the coming weeks, I’ll share these insights to help the reformers among you shape intelligent approaches and policies that create organisational value.

Interested? Let’s have a chat about your company’s travel, meetings and events objectives - from the stuff that keeps you awake at night, to the everyday experiences of your employees! Call us on 0330 390 0340, or submit your details below.