Oil and gas travel specialist FCm Travel Solutions has said it is helping its Aberdeen-based clients reduce travel costs in the face of falling revenues due to the plunge in oil prices.
Around 90%t of the seventy clients whose travel programmes are managed by the company in Aberdeen have been affected by the squeeze as most have major interests in North Sea oil production.
“We are working closely with clients to re-evaluate their travel policies, modify behaviour and find savings where possible, without compromising on safety, which is a critical aspect of travel management for oil and gas companies,” said Mairead Hayden, operations director, FCm Aberdeen.
“Our account managers have held emergency meetings with buyers to look at their travel programme on a case by case basis. Every client is different in terms of their travel needs and potential for finding savings.”
Among the measures energy clients are taking include moving a proportion of their air travel from business class to economy. Some travellers can only book business class if the flight is over eight hours and can no longer choose their preferred carrier, if a cheaper fare is available on an alternative airline. Companies are also cutting back on non-essential travel, particularly domestic travel to internal meetings, and opting for video conferencing instead.
“Crews still need to transfer on and off oil rigs at the start and finish of their rotas, but we are looking at ways to find savings where possible, asking questions such as : does the crew member really need a flexible ticket; would a nett fare be better value than a marine fare?” explained Hayden.
“The responsibility falls to our operations staff to offer clients the most cost-effective option, fare, routing, hotel rate, not to wait until the traveller asks for the cheapest fare. If the client declines the lowest fare, then we produce missed savings reports to give travel buyers visibility over which fare was chosen and why, in order to analyse and influence traveller behaviour,” she added.
FCm has also been evaluating opportunities with airline suppliers, benchmarking different deals and driving hotel programmes to provide pricing relief. IATA is predicting that average fares should drop by five per cent in 2015 and some airlines have reduced fares already.