How Schneider Electric Worked with HRS to Combine Its Transient Spend with Meetings & Groups

In Case Studies by Ulrike

Helping a global leader in energy save more than 10% on annual travel spend

Executive Summary:

As leaders in their field, Schneider Electric has always been driven by their mission to provide efficient, smart solutions to global energy problems. Working with HRS, their Italy team sought to apply that same degree of data-driven innovation to internal challenges.Faced with rising costs in annual travel spend, here’s how Schneider Electric used HRS’ end-to-end solutions, namely Central Billing, to consolidate its transient hotel spend with its meetings and group spend and save more than 10% year over year.

About Schneider Electric:

Schneider Electric is a Fortune Global 500 company, on a mission to provide energymanagement and automated digital solutions for efficiency and sustainability. They combine world-leading energy technologies, real-time automation, software and services into integrated solutions for homes, buildings, data centers, infrastructure and industries.With operations spanning more than 100 countries, Schneider Electric also employs 137,000 people worldwide. Supporting a truly global operation, their travel office in Italy oversees booking arrangements year-round for business trips, meetings andevents.

Challenges and Objectives:

Tasked with reducing annual travel costs, Schneider Electric’s Italy office faced several continued challenges. The company has an internal office for travel and events, but like many organizations, it struggled to gain full visibility of spend between the transient and MICE segments.

Without a standard, centralized booking channel, it was difficult and time-consuming for individual travelers to find the right hotel property. Similarly, meetings bookers struggled to compare bids between different hotels, encountering a lack of transparency and standardization around the product offerings and pricing.

The inability to check up-front whether a property would meet company policy and terms and conditions meant meetings bookers would often decide on a property before realizing it wouldn’t meet Schneider’s terms. For example, Schneider’s policy dictates bookers shouldn’t use properties that require a deposit, but sometimes that important directive was overlooked before a decision was made, which led to costly exceptions management.

Lack of standardization created a complicated payment process. Equally difficult expense procedures meant increased process time for employees and inconsistent collection of VAT reclaim, both contributors to higher costs.

In 2018, Schneider enlisted HRS to solve these challenges. Three key objectives emerged:

● Streamline the entire process and booking workflow across transient andmeetings and groups segments,

● Increase program adoption and satisfaction among travelers and meetings bookers, and

● Reduce annual travel spend.

HRS was able to work closely alongside Schneider, providing a bespoke, tech-forward approach to understanding and addressing each of these challenges.

How We Helped:

HRS worked with Schneider to analyze the structure and data of its existing travel and MICE programs. We laid out a strategy aimed at meeting the program’s key objectives and used the HRS platform of wholly owned solutions to execute on that strategy across the sourcing, booking and payment processes for both transient andmeetings and groups.

Here are a few ways we helped them tackle each challenge.

Streamline the entire process and booking workflow

For Schneider, finding and choosing the right property was a major pain point in terms of booking workflow for both transient and MICE. To tackle this, HRS structured a transient booking process that would enable Schneider to enforcetravel policy and guide travelers to the right property. On the meetings and groupsside, HRS provided a booking process that enabled meetings bookers to easily compare offers between properties.

Improve adoption and satisfaction among travelers and meetings bookers.

In order to overcome Schneider’s problems with payment and expense for both the transient and meetings and groups segments, HRS deployed virtual payment in the form of central billing. This greatly improved the traveler and meetings booker experience, consolidating the payment process and eliminating the tedious administrative work that goes with manual expense reporting. The simpler booking workflow combined with easy-to-use virtual payment also increased the overall adoption of Schneider’s hotel program.

Reduce annual travel spend.

To bring down the overall hotel program costs, HRS consolidated Schneider’s hotelsourcing and booking content across the transient and meetings and groups segments to secure stronger discounts and introduce a greater variety and quality of hotels into the program. We used additional booking levers, including our Best Buy solution that presents travelers and bookers with the best available rate on the market at the time of booking, to drive further savings to Schneider. The virtual payment solution adopted by Schneider enabled them to automatically recover100% of their VAT costs.

Results:

Schneider Electric Italy recorded year-on-year savings of more than 10% for annual travel spend through a stronger hotel portfolio, negotiated discounts, booking levers and VAT recovery. The office reduced its hotel average daily rate by 9%. Hotel booking and expense process time shrank by 90% in Schneider’s finance department. Finally, hotel program adoption rose to 80%.

HRS stood out from other providers in the market thanks to a personalized, hands-on approach. Our account management team conducted multiple research and training sessions with Schneider, getting to know the company’s specific travel challenges and needs. We then used those learnings to adapt and further customize our proprietary technology solutions. It’s an outcome that has encouraged Schneider to start taking the same approach beyond Italy and across its travel offices around the globe. Are you ready to take control of your company’s travel program? Get in touch today