BTN’s 2014 Best Practitioners: Harman’s Abella Better Utilizes Video Space To Chop Hotel Costs


Story by Chris Davis

While some companies successfully have integrated videoconferencing into their travel programs as a means to cut costs and reduce strain on frequent travelers, many others can tell tales of expensive equipment sitting in lonely conference rooms under a thin layer of dust. Harman International director of global corporate travel Sally Abella saw that equipment as an opportunity and in 2013 deployed a system that helps would-be users locate, book and use that equipment.

Due not entirely but at least in part to the initiative, total hotel room nights in the audio and electronics firm’s five largest corporate locations—where the initiative was emphasized most heavily—last year declined 27 percent year over year, Abella said. That expenditure was redeployed elsewhere,  she said.

“It really didn’t reduce our travel costs but it did reduce the number of trips that were going to Harman campuses,” she said. “In other words, our employees are now out there in front of people and spending money in front of people, like our customers, or maybe spending money on educational programs.”

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