Humanizing the Supplier Sourcing Process

Does your procurement approach source for the big picture or the bottom line? Taking a hybrid approach that evaluates savings potential while also addressing the traveler experience is key.

We’ve been reading more and more about a humanistic procurement approach that incorporates traditional and non-traditional measures.

Scott Gillespie, CEO of tClara, pointed out at GBTA 2018 that the traditional savings elements measured in travel management savings neither control costs nor determines program success. At the recent Skift Global Forum a key topic was humanizing the travel experience to create loyalty and engagement among travelers.

How do procurement professionals incorporate human elements into a traditional sourcing process to support a comprehensive travel management supplier portfolio?

Much of the work is to be done prior to supplier contracting.

By incorporating both traditional quantifiable metrics and elements that consider the traveler experience, procurement professionals can both control costs and create programs with high compliance that lead to strong overall supplier and contract performance.

Procurement professionals should work closely with travel management stakeholders, including Travel Managers, Administration, and HR teams, to incorporate traveler experience measures into traditional sourcing channels.

Below are critical human elements that CTM encourages our clients to consider in their travel management supplier sourcing strategy.


As you analyze air contracts to establish or move market share, are you communicating those benefits to your travelers and mitigating factors that increase leakage?

  • Incorporate traveler feedback and clearly communicate cost savings at the individual, department, and company level
  • Seek status matching when possible to reduce leakage, address individual loyalty programs, and encourage adoption in outlying markets
  • Analyze top cities for specific route opportunities for telepresence studies that can reduce unnecessary travel.

As you review your hotel portfolio, are you negotiating properties and additional amenities to attract your staff to preferred properties?

  • Incorporate traveler feedback and hotel reviews to ensure traveler satisfaction with selected properties
  • Select properties with amenities that reduce traveler friction and improve the travel experience, like fitness facilities, proximity to entertainment, etc.
  • Consider member and direct rates and encourage participation by communicate the value of your company portfolio
Ground Transport

As your review ground transportation providers, be sure you are incorporating traditional suppliers as well as ride sharing alternatives.

  • Consider amenities above the base rate, such as GPS, that can both include value and convenience for travelers
  • Consider and include ride sharing guidelines in your travel policy
  • Consider a ridesharing application that encourages colleague communication and can improve the traveler experience
Technology and Disrupters

The holistic approach to a supplier management strategy should incorporate both traditional savings measures and elements affecting the traveler experience. By incorporating feedback loops and addressing traveler friction points, your sourcing strategy and supplier portfolio can drive compliance, satisfaction and, ultimately, savings.