TLP: Even The Middle Seat May Not Seem So Bad
Tough economic times don't ordinarily result in more perks for the corporate drones. Usually, things go the other way: smaller bonuses, fewer trips, an extra-close review of the expense account. All those things that help the bottom line or make sure there still is a bottom line.
But some companies are taking an approach in their travel policies that may make employees hope that the recovery remains just out of reach a while longer.
Long before the economy foundered, Energizer Battery Company was looking for ways to cut its travel costs. After all, two-thirds of the company’s 5,000 to 6,000 employees travel for work, many of them overseas.Business travel is one of those things that cuts two ways. Next time you're in an airport, look around. Who's fucking hating it because this is the fifth trip this month and can't even remember what city it is. And who's on a bit of a junket, glad to be out of the office and just maybe has found a way to build a little something extra into company business? One will be happy to collect some cash to make up for getting on another plane. The incentive for the other traveler has nothing to do with money.
Its solution was an incentive program: it pays employees to fly coach, instead of business class, when traveling overseas.
“What we do for all locations except for Asia is we share the difference in the ticket price for up to $2,000,” said Doris Lee Middleton, the human resources and travel services manager at Energizer. “For Asia, it’s $3,000.”
Now, with the weak economy forcing them to make tough budget decisions, other travel managers are trying variations of the incentive program.
“Companies are always looking for creative ways to get more value out of their travel programs,” said Michael Steiner, executive vice president of Ovation Corporate Travel, one of the nation’s largest travel management companies.