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Case Study: Savings achieved through travel program enhancements

A client, Downer, achieved AUD $3.2 million in savings through account management analysis, technology adoption and booking methodology.

Corporate Travel Management (CTM) implemented new technology and enhanced Downer’s travel program, including policy updates, booker awareness training and post-trip reporting and analysis.

Read on to find out how.


Downer is a Sydney-based provider of integrated services and has been a valued CTM client since 2008.

In December 2020, Downer extended its agreement with CTM for another three years, taking our partnership to 15 years and counting.

Having established maturity across systems and workflow, Downer sought to de-centralise their booking process to improve efficiencies and reduce costs.

$3.2M AUD generated in cost savings



Despite a successful and extensive partnership through multiple contract terms, changes in stakeholders and the travel program’s scale and breadth delayed several key phases, including the transition to CTM’s proprietary online booking tool, Lightning.

CTM saw this transition as a necessary lever in our revised savings program, proposed during the previous contract, as we sought to generate cost reduction within an already mature program.

Plus, implementing Lightning (from the previous tool Concur) would allow Downer to move forward with its appetite for decentralising booking, an objective supported by our CTM Mobile platform.


Once the transition to Lightning was initiated, CTM uplifted Downer’s travel program, including policy updates, booker awareness training and post-trip reporting and analysis. This activity underpinned Downer’s savings objectives, and featured the following account management activity:

  • Maximising Best Fare of the Day: across 15 months of focus, the average domestic segment fare fell by 13% ($254 to $220).


  • Across the same period, the average price of restrictive fares booked fell by 14% ($227 to $194). Concurrently, the selection of restrictive (versus flexible) fares – a proven savings driver – increased to 79%, outstripping the established CTM benchmark. This was a 15% improvement on the previous year-on-year comparison.


  • As a result of our de-centralisation and re-engineering, the average travellers per Downer booker fell from 26.8 (2018) to 2.6 (2019). Equally, the average bookings per booker fell from 48.9 per month to 4.7. This significantly freed up internal Downer resources, while seeing a reduction in online adoption fall just 10% (90-80%) across the same period.


  • Focusing on reducing segment fares on Top Four City Pairs saw Downer achieve substantially reduced actual fares when benchmarked against CTM metrics (e.g. BNE-PERBNE achieved $364.75 against a benchmark of $441).


  • A focus on reducing the cost of ticket changes saw a decrease in this cost from $261k to $59k. This represented a reduction from 3% of bookings to just 0.8% of bookings, arguably the standout achievement in this specific area of activity across the entire CTM portfolio.


  • Domestic Hotel Rates and – significantly – Hotel Attachment Rates both improved dramatically across the reported period: Against a benchmark of $214 per night, Downer decreased from $183 to $172 in rates achieved, and against a benchmark of 32%, Downer increased from 46% to 55% in ensuring a booking across one or more nights was accompanied by an accommodation booking in a preferred Downer property (i.e. attachment rate).


Across our most recent contract period, a combination of account management analysis and recommendations, technology – specifically adoption of the Lightning OBT – and booking methodology generated savings of $3,248,210.

We also note that the strength and success of this partnership assisted CTM in securing Downer’s business in New Zealand.

Downer New Zealand joined CTM in August 2017, bringing two companies under one account – Hawkins Construction and Downer. CTM had previously been managing a third division of theirs, Spotless Group, since 2014.

In October 2017, all three divisions were consolidated under one agreement, improving policy compliance and providing a clearer overview within the reporting.

Our expert team can elevate your travel program to drive cost savings and efficiencies.

Contact us today to find out how.