Understanding requirements

The Law Society is a national organisation with its headquarters in Chancery Lane, London and The Cube, Birmingham. Inntel has worked with The Law Society (and its subsidiary, the Solicitors’ Regulatory Authority) since 2008.

Our relationship with The Law Society has changed and developed over time. In 2013, the Society decided it needed a more rigorous travel policy, with greater accountability on the budgets, better prices through consolidating all spending, and tighter safety procedures for travelling employees. Inntel won the business and became their sole provider for accommodation, meetings and events, rail and air travel bookings.

Solving problems

The Inntel account manager spent time with the Chief Executive’s PA, the different department heads (for meeting and events, finance, procurement) and the Head of Investigations at the SRA (Solicitors’ Regulatory Authority) to discover exactly what each stakeholder wanted from us.

The meetings and events team wanted us to make their lives easier and their delegates safer. The time-pressed PA asked for a way to make all arrangements with one phone call. The SRA were looking for lower room rates than The Law Society. And the Finance Department asked us to tailor our invoices to match the data fields on their new internal accounting system.

Adding value

Inntel took all of these diverse requirements and created a single online user interface for the Society, giving them the ability to book rooms for meetings, accommodation, rail journeys and domestic and international flights in one place. (The Chief Executive’s PA has ‘hot line’ access to the Inntel booking team).

To reduce the Society’s accommodation costs, Inntel negotiated better rates with a long list of hotels and implemented a preferred hotel programme for the Society, which is strictly enforced. If someone books a hotel that is not on the preferred list, the budget holder receives an email asking for authorisation. If the authorisation is not received before cancellation charges would become due the booking is cancelled automatically.

Inntel’s online portal also includes a bespoke traveller tracking tool, Inntel i-Care, which enables employers to see where their delegates are at all times. If disaster strikes, the procurement team will be able to see at a glance who is staying in the affected area, export their contact details as an Excel file and make contact with everyone concerned.

The Society’s rail and air costs are also being reduced as, for each booking, the system will suggest smarter alternative routes that would cost less than the first chosen option. It will also flag up the savings that could be made by fixing journey times compared to selecting an open booking.

The line managers themselves now benefit from instant access to ‘live’ management information on how their teams are spending the department’s money on hotels, rail and air fares and events. This gives them much greater budget control than they ever had before, and a welcome ‘heads up’ on any potential over-spends.

Satisfying customers

Through our tough negotiations with hotels and proactive journey finder processes we were able to save the Society a significant amount compared to the previous year’s spend and resulted in The Law Society awarding Inntel a sole provider contract for a further five years.