How to Effectively Leverage Travel Spend Data

By Jessica Larkin

There are few things more powerful in today’s business world than data. Think about it, nearly every task we perform is tracked, monitored, or analyzed. This includes pipeline generation, sales cycles, the average cost per deal, and the expenses associated to generate that business–everything is tracked.

It is estimated 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.”

With such a large spend on corporate travel, a holistic business review that leverages data for actionable insights is a must. However, for the business review to be worthwhile, the data must be clean and actionable.

Fewer Errors Mean Increased Accuracy

The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) listed in a 2015 report that one in five (19 percent) expense reports contain errors or missing information. Further, the GBTA noted, “Companies process an average of 51,000 expense reports each year meaning companies around the globe spend, on average, approximately half a million dollars and nearly 3,000 hours correcting errors in expense reports annually.”

Talk about a waste of human resources and capital. At TravelBank, we can’t stress enough the business benefits of an all-in-one expense reporting and travel management system. For instance, within our app, the traveler experience and expense management run parallel to one another. As a result, expenses are created automatically for travel booked, receipts are a breeze to upload and categorize, and employees can submit for reimbursement with a simple tap or click. We have found that a stellar user experience lends to increased travel policy compliance, which in turn leads to increased accuracy in the data.

Finance departments and travel administrators love all-in-one T&E management compared to multiple integrations as processes are easier to manage, the need to jump from app-to-app is negated, and auditing a report can be done super fast. Further, travel spend can be pegged against specific projects for more accurate job costing or a better understanding of lead acquisition data points.

It’s essential to have all travel booked through one platform as it streamlines the ability to track and report on every metric.

Streamlined Data is Easier to Review

Now, once your data is in the system, it can be used in a variety of ways. Reconciliations and forecasting will be a breeze. But beyond the basics, travel managers and other stakeholders can now conduct a meaningful review of the figures to gain a better understanding of the return on investment thanks to clear, actionable data.

We suggest a business review of corporate travel policies at least once per year. Not only is this a great way to understand company spend for big ticket items like flights and hotels, but it’s also a time to review things like meals and entertainment expenses in terms of both spending and policy compliance.

Scenario #1: Conference ROI

Corporate travel data can be utilized to review the business impact of events. We all know that conferences are expensive and it’s important to understand the ROI. From a reporting perspective, an organization can compare T&E for a conference to pipeline generated. Did this event make the company money? Did it expand an organization’s footprint within its ecosystem? Depending on the business goal for the event, T&E data points can help to determine if it was worthwhile, if the size of the team sent should be increased or decreased, or if the conference should be on the roadmap for the year ahead.

Scenario #2: Forecasting for the Future

Another great way to leverage travel spend data pertains to budget planning for the upcoming year. Thanks to data outputs from a TMC, finance teams can make recommendations to increase or decrease allocations based on data outputs from the previous year. For instance, if a specific sales team tends to travel more than another, more dollars can be budgeted for that group instead of a general bucket for travel expenses across a sales organization.

Data is King

At the end of the day, data is one of the best kept tools in any organizations arsenal. However, for the data to truly have an impact, it needs to be accurate and reportable. The benefits of an all-in-one travel and expense reporting system can’t be undercut in today’s business landscape. Employees will benefit from budgets that meet their needs. Finance and executive teams will rest easier knowing they have their finger on the pulse of corporate travel spending to make the best business decisions possible for their organization.

Are you ready to leverage your travel data to make better business decisions? We can help. Contact TravelBank today to get started.

We can help
Are you ready to leverage your travel data to make better business decisions? Contact TravelBank today to get started.
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