Sam Sterry, Head of SME at Europcar Mobility Group in the UK, highlights the value of regular travel policy reviews to keep staff moving
The cost of keeping employees on the move can’t be underestimated. Europcar research shows that 44% of the workforce needs some form of transport to do their job effectively, but this puts a financial strain on SME budgets. For nearly 15% of businesses, reducing travel and transport costs is part of their strategy, underlining the importance of an effective fleet.
For SMEs in Northern Ireland relying on grey fleet vehicles, employees have the expense of wear and tear on their own vehicle, as well as time spent filling in the necessary fuel reimbursements, after a journey. Businesses also have to shoulder the cost of employees using separate vehicles to get to the same destination.
Business travellers often need to travel for last minute events or meetings, which means they don’t have time to shop around for the cheapest option. This is compounded by the fact that smaller businesses are less likely to have a dedicated person to arrange travel, leaving it up to business travellers to organise their own trips.
The business travel landscape is shifting, as traditional products and services evolve to meet the growing demands of the sharing economy. However, our research shows that half of firms don’t offer access to a car pool or sharing service, when staff need a vehicle. Times have changed, which means employees no longer want a one-size-fits-all approach to business travel. SMEs need to ensure that their travel policies reflect this demand for more flexible options, but 39% only review their fleet policy once a year and nearly a third do it every two years. In the meantime, employees may have different needs and requirements, which aren’t being met by the current travel policy.
Aside from company owned vehicles, 49% of employees use their own vehicle with 35% using public transport. Only 24% use a car share and 15% use a car they can rent by the hour. This highlights an opportunity for SMEs to reconsider their fleet travel arrangements.
Advantage from Europcar Mobility Group in the UK offers SMEs a long-term solution that offers access to vehicles at a fixed rate, from three months up to three years. With no fixed contract to sign, it is ideal for businesses that are uncertain about their future vehicle requirements, but want to know that costs won’t change. With flexible transport solutions, firms can avoid the hassle of vehicle ownership, as well as the cost of servicing and maintenance, alongside the benefits of a range of modern, well-maintained vehicles that meet the needs of their business travellers.
 Survey base was 503 business decision makers and this was carried out in May 2018 by Censuswide