Adelman Travel in January formalized a consulting organization that, for no additional fee, helps clients with expense management, payment solutions, global consolidation, data analysis and travel alternatives.
Following external training that began about 18 months ago, Adelman assigned 14 of its account managers to the group. The consultants regularly monitor clients' key performance indicators in order to proactively and continuously tackle problems before they have an impact--supplanting annual account reviews. A detailed business plan, which Adelman calls Blueprint, is customized for each client and includes report cards, ready-made C-level reports and solutions to improve key areas based on data from Adelman's reporting tool.
"If what you're talking about in May is related to something that happened in February the year before, it's too late to offer solutions," said Adelman COO Steve Cline. "We wanted a more fluid document that would continue to evolve; that data continues to roll up and we can still act on it."
With travel only a portion of his responsibilities, Tuomas Vuoristo, head of indirect procurement at Adelman customer Metso Corp., said, "I find it extremely useful when I don't have to come up with everything myself. This is not just a report card on our air or hotel agreements. It's an approach where they come back to you with a solution and they can manage that solution for me. I don't have to do a ton of footwork. A great example is in our air compliance improvements, driven by Adelman reconciling between their booking records and our credit card data."
Adelman also is contacting travelers who book air but not hotel, and Vuoristo estimated that the company's air-hotel attachment rate has nearly doubled in some divisions. Metso has more than 2,000 travelers.
Although his firm is not a user, Vuoristo said he is intrigued by the Adelman videoconferencing solution, VideoTravel. Adelman's new consulting approach also incorporates analysis of trip purpose "to determine if videoconferencing may be a valid alternative to specific types of travel," according to Adelman.
"Videoconferencing and travel serve the same purpose, so why would you separate them?" asked Vuoristo rhetorically.
Adelman claims more than 600 corporate accounts and now has 190 employees, up from 167 at year-end 2011.