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Sports: Can we adopt marginal gains on and off the field?

sports marginal gains travel management

With Premier League football clubs becoming global businesses, can the principle of marginal gains still be applied to the backroom and admin staff? 

Many elite sports clubs take into account the smallest details when preparing for a victory, such as taking their own chef to an away game, letting players have their own pillows in the hotel the night before and analysing every run, pass and tackle that players make to see whether they could have been even one per cent better at it.

How can travel management companies apply this same concept to the business travel process? 

Knowledge is key

There are unique elements to a sports business that don’t occur in the corporate world. Knowing what they are and understanding these differences is key, as there are numerous travel policies to take into consideration. 

It is perfectly feasible that a client may be interested in signing a player for £100million. If that’s the case, then spending £1,000 on a plane ticket so a scout can see him and make a recommendation is seen as small change. In our report on marginal gains we highlighted how booking early in all areas of travel garnered savings. However, when it comes to the scout travel process, it’s important to understand that planning ahead is not possible. 

There are similar restrictions that come up when looking at VIP travel, booking budget airlines or hotels to save on cost is not an option. 

Although changes can’t be made in these key areas, the rest of these organisations tend to operate within set budgets and smart processes can be implemented to fully maximize their funds. 

Treat gains as goals

We talked last week about the advancement in artificial intelligence and its place in the business world. By analysing traveller data, we can start to look at where smarter behaviours can be applied. 

As an example, at Academy level clubs permit their players who are from overseas so many flights home per year to see family. In this instance, there is no excuse for arranging these flights last minute. Academy teams are also regularly booked to play tournaments in various locations to gain experience. TMC’s and clubs need to make sure they are always communicating these particular situations, where advance bookings can significantly impact the travel cost per player. 

Look for a TMC with specialist services

Sports clubs simply do not have the volume of travellers to fully benefit from preferred rates on airlines, rail travel and hotels. 

sports marginal gains travel management

Choosing not just a travel management company, but one with specialist knowledge can ensure that the same marginal gains concept used on field is translated into company travel policies. To not only be able to analyse booking data and identify the areas where traveller behaviour is impacting budgets, but then to be able to educate staff into new behaviours and ways of booking.

So, can the principle of marginal gains still be applied to the backroom and admin staff in a sporting organisation? 

Absolutely, provided they have a TMC in their wings. Specialist sector knowledge combined with access to lower preferential rates and a dedicated team of travel professionals are a sure-fire route to victory. 

Author: Patrick Oniyelu, Clarity Business Development Manager

For more information on our bespoke Sports service please contact our sales team: 0800 731 1627