The Top Five Benefits of Utilizing a Travel Management Company
It is estimated that global business travel spend will reach $1.6 trillion by 2020. Not million. Not billion. Trillion. In addition to travel for meetings, conferences, and team building events, telecommuting rates have nearly doubled in the past ten years. This increase in travel lends to more time spent by employees researching flights and hotels, putting together expense reports and following-up on approvals. On the other side of the house, the finance team is tasked with reconciling the various transactions, approving reimbursements and budget forecasting. To say it has become a monumental task for all parties would be an understatement.
Enter the travel management company (TMC). TMCs assist with the day-to-day operations of your business travel program, and provide dedicated resources and technology for all stakeholders within an organization, including CEOs and founders, employees, and of course finance departments. These services and tools help streamline both expenses and travel management to improve efficiency for business professionals. Let’s take a few minutes to review the top benefits of utilizing a travel management company.
Employee Assistance and Itinerary Support
According to research, “One in four working professionals (25%) finds managing an itinerary and booking meetings for a business trip to be stressful. Additionally, four in ten (41%) working professionals globally find travel delays and cancellations stressful.” To help ease these pain points, we believe it is essential to provide your travelers with 24/7/365 chat, phone, and email concierge support.
When you work with a TMC, your team gains access to a dedicated support team, saving them from the time and stress involved in handling travel issues on their own. At TravelBank, we also function as the agent of record for all booking and ticketing, which means you won’t be turned over to a third-party customer service organization. If your flight is canceled or delayed, you have check-in issues, or need to change plans, we’re here to help.
Centralized Expense Report Management
Centralized expense report management can be a big overall benefit of working with a travel management company. Through a TMC, your organization has one point of contact and one agreement for both travel and expenses. Plus, your travel management company should be able to provide expense management services via a mobile app that your travelers can access from anywhere. And while many TMCs partner with a software service that powers the expense management app, TravelBank has its own app that was thoughtfully designed to provide a modern, easy-to-use experience.
Creating, editing, and submitting expenses with the TravelBank app couldn’t be easier. You can take photos of a receipt using our mobile app, forward email receipts directly to your expense queue, upload saved receipt images to a report, or import transactions with our credit card sync feature. Prefer to work on your computer? No problem. You are also able to edit and submit receipts via our desktop app. Once receipts are added, our proprietary technology scans the information and fills in the expense details such as vendor and amount, saving you the manual input. You are also able to edit the details of your charges.
Submitting your expense reports is also simple. Gone are the days of printing or attaching pages of documentation. With TravelBank, expense reports can be submitted with one tap. A PDF of your expense list will be generated and a copy will be sent to your work email. If your company uses TravelBank, a copy will also be sent to your department head for approval and finance can reimburse you through the app via direct deposit.
Comprehensive Insights for Finance Departments
Visibility and forecasting are huge for the finance team, yet with travel and expenses it’s often difficult to predict costs and control spend. A TMC can help your team automate manual tasks, enables enhanced control and operational efficiencies, and gives you access to reporting that provides greater visibility into budget and financial forecasting. For instance, with the reporting provided by a TMC, finance can see exactly how much teams are spending with real-time insights and monitor overall savings against policies. Additionally, at TravelBank, you get unique access to our proprietary budget calculator that uses market rates, not just historical data, to create benchmarks and forecast budget needs with increased accuracy.
As an added bonus, and a favorite for finance departments, we have general ledger integrations to ensure expense categories are mapped correctly. TravelBank is integrated with Quickbooks, Bill.com, Xero, and Netsuite to simplify and streamline processes even more.
Travel Policy Compliance Assistance
One of the most notable and immediate changes your team will feel working with a TMC is the shift from unmanaged to managed travel. Without a TMC, employees typically reserve travel using numerous different online booking tools, or one overworked employee manually books travel at the request of multiple employees. This makes it difficult to achieve travel policy compliance and provide duty of care.
A TMC, alternatively, can offer one place for employees to book all of their business travel and help ensure adherence to travel policy. This is especially helpful as your travel program grows and corporate travel policies become highly nuanced, encompassing approval and reimbursement processes, meal expense parameters, client entertainment, flight bookings, hotel reservations, ground transportation, rental cars, and even travel rewards. Additionally, trends like bleisure travel, the practice of combining business and leisure trips, require company travel policy to establish clear guidelines to distinguish work-related from personal expenses.
A TMC can provide your team with a booking platform that automates your travel policy through budgets and booking approvals, resulting in enhanced compliance and increased employee satisfaction. Additionally, TravelBank helps provide transparency around your company travel policy by giving employees a budget, and explanations for it, driven by policies created by your finance team in the platform. This transparency leads to employee happiness, reduced costs, and accountability.
Negotiated Savings and Discounts
Traditionally, negotiated savings and discounts on flights and hotels are reserved for large corporations that have extremely high travel spend. But have no fear, regardless of the size of your organization, a TMC can help secure cost savings. It is estimated by the GBTA that “partnering with a TMC saves companies between 5% and 50% of their annual travel spend, and as travel is often a company’s second largest expense, even companies that spend as little as $250,000 a year can see significant savings.”
At Travelbank, we’ve secured competitive rates with over 200 airlines, half a million hotels, and homesharing services such as AirBnB. We also take your corporate travel cost savings to the next level by offering a 1% cash back on travel bookings for companies who use TravelBank as their TMC and a built-in travel rewards program that you can activate for your team to incentivize smart spend.
Do You Need a Travel Management Company?
Quite simply, the answer is yes! Unmanaged travel causes employees avoidable stress, leaves room for human error, and ties up your finance team with manual processing of clunky spreadsheet-based expense reports that have a multitude of receipts attached. No matter the size of your organization, we can help organize travel, align budgets, streamline expense reporting, and expedite reimbursements.