Your Ultimate Guide to Business Travel Management
On the surface, business travel management appears to be self-explanatory–the management of business travel. What you may not realize is that it is quite complex. Business travel management not only covers booking and itineraries, but also encompasses approval processes, financials such as expense reports, budgets, and job costing, and corporate travel policies and compliance.
In addition, the management of business travel isn’t limited to a single department. It involves a variety of cross-functional teams including the actual travelers, approving managers, finance teams, leadership, and human resources.
Seem excessive? Well, considering that global business travel spend is forecasted to reach $1.7 trillion by 2022, and aside from salary and office overhead, travel is one of the largest line items on corporate budget sheets, the need for business travel management is all too real.
Business Travel Management as a Simplifier
With exorbitant amounts of money being allocated to corporate travel, it goes without saying that a management function needs to be in place to ensure employees are spending company money wisely, but also that the business itself is mindful of employee safety, billing jobs accurately, and reimbursing in a timely manner.
Fortunately, technology-enabled business travel management is available to help streamline and simplify travel for employees and ensure budget and policy compliance for the business. Through technology, travel management companies are able to provide a frictionless experience for the teams involved with business travel and its management.
Employees need access to a curated flight booking platform with corporate rates to purchase flights for all of their business travel needs. In turn, your company can build in policies that enables travelers to fly efficiently–avoiding multiple layovers or crazy-early flights just to save the company a few bucks.
Booking a place to stay is a key part of business travel. It’s important for your employees to feel safe and have amenities to make life on the road easier. Remember, they are representing your company–you want them to feel empowered to do their job and feel well rested. You also don’t want employees stuck in a roach motel due to travel budgets that don’t take into consideration real-time market prices.
If your organization uses TravelBank for business travel management, that will never be the case. Using our proprietary algorithm, we pull together the best possible rates and lodging options based on the trip itself, your corporate policies, and market demand for the dates and destination.
Travel Policy Compliance
Travel policies are a clear set of guardrails designed to keep employees safe and on budget, while also keeping business objectives in mind. Typically, your corporate travel policy will cover advanced booking requirements, budgets, airfare rules, meal per diems, expense reports, and outline reimbursement parameters. We’ll take a deeper dive into travel policies and the importance of compliance later in this post.
As you look into your business travel management needs, we strongly suggest working with a travel management company that offers all-in-one travel and expense reporting. Your employees will love that all of the tools are available in a central location, making creating editing, and submitting business travel expense reports easy and efficient.
By utilizing all-in-one T&E technology for business travel management, your employees will be able to snap photos of receipts on-the-go, and then pull everything into a report. Once the trip ends, it’s easy to review expenses and tag the appropriate billing or job codes, add notes and descriptions, and even classify the expense type. Then, the expense report can be submitted for reimbursement with a simple tap or click.
Around-the-Clock Traveler Support
Enhancing the employee experience is an important element of business travel management. We strongly recommend working with a travel management company that provides “always on” 24/7/365 support. At TravelBank, we do just that and our team can be reached via chat, phone, or email. Further, we serve as the agent of record for all trips, which means we will never transfer you to a third party to take care of itinerary changes, issues with lodging, or anything else that may arise on the road.
The Global Business Travel Association estimates that partnering with a travel management company saves 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.
TravelBank has secured negotiated rates with over 200 airlines and half a million hotels. This has resulted in our customers seeing an average of 30% savings when they book through our solution.
Business Travel Management and Travel Policy Compliance
A cornerstone of business travel management is a corporate travel policy. This policy provides guidelines for business travel logistics, direction and requirements for business travelers, and has safety and duty of care parameters in place. Typically a business travel policy covers flight and hotel policies, budgets, approval processes, and reimbursements.
Once the policy is created, you’ll need to brief your team so that everyone is on the same page. If employees are kept in the dark on the program, compliance will be harder to achieve. With TravelBank, you can build your policies directly into the app. This is a great way to ensure policies are complied with and gives your employees clear guardrails as they book business travel.
Additionally, it is imperative to remember that travel policies are not one-size-fits-all and that you should be mindful of both the financial needs of the company, but also consider safety and convenience factors for your business travelers. Remember, if the policy is well-balanced and flexible, compliance will be far easier to attain than if the policy is too rigid.
Your Team Will Love Business Travel Management
Utilizing TravelBank to assist for your business travel management is a great way to generate savings for your company and gain control of spend. It also will improve your employee’s experience through our all-in-one business travel and expense platform. But that’s not all. Let’s take a few minutes and review why stakeholders across your organization will love technology supported business travel management.
Employees love business travel management with the help of a travel management company. Booking is easier, as is staying within policy, expense reporting is a breeze, and they are provided the peace of mind that they are supported 24/7/365 on the road.
According to Homaira, an administrative assistant at Freenome, “When I use TravelBank, I spend less time filtering through hotels. The selection is great, and the results always consist of the best hotels you can get for your money. I’ve done a few searches on Google for comparison, and the TravelBank results were consistently filtering the best hotels to the top of the results. This has been another excellent time-saver.”
Business travel management through TravelBank enables travel managers to keep track of itineraries, monitor compliance, and reduce company spend. From a booking perspective, the back-and-forth for approvals is significantly reduced as travelers are able to book with travel policies in place. Travel managers also love that they can easily oversee multiple traveler profiles, including loyalty programs. This makes booking for others far easier.
As noted by TravelBank customer Jumpcut, “We have saved a ton of time! We recently shot a video in the Philippines. As the producer, I do logistics for our video recording. Previously, I would have had to go online and book all the flights and hotels for each of the staff members attending. But with TravelBank, I just submitted the list of attendees to TravelBank and their travel agents took care of booking flights. It was really convenient and a big weight off my shoulders.”
In short, business travel management through TravelBank provides a platform to support travelers more efficiently while also benefiting from an average 30% savings with unparalleled inventory and exclusive hotel rates.
We believe that it is important for your finance team to see exactly how much is being spent with real-time insights. With TravelBank, visibility into future travel spend thanks to predictive trip budgets, based on destinations, travel dates, and real-time market prices will also be a favorite. Expense tracking is automated, which makes it easier for employees to record receipts on the go, and in turn boosting compliance.
Don’t just take our word for it! When it came to streamlining work for accounts payable, the team at OnRamp notes, “Beforehand, there was so much stress in trying to get the American Express bill reconciled each month and get expense descriptions clear enough for auditors,” said Sherrie. “TravelBank has made it so much easier to cover those basis and has sped things up so much that I’m able to get monthly reporting dine in less than a day now.” You can read more about OnRamp’s business travel transformation here.
Why Business Travel Management Matters
Business travel is a key factor in the success of companies today. A few of the primary reasons for employees to hit the road include meetings with prospective clients and current customers, team building events such as sales kick-off or visiting other offices, continuing education and networking, and thought leadership presentations at industry events.
Regardless of the reason for the trip, business travel management is essential to enable employees to maximize their time on the road while also keeping business goals in mind and ensuring compliance.
As we’ve stated previously, modern travel management companies (TMC) take the booking process to an entirely different level. In addition to providing the best possible rates for a trip, innovative TMCs provide all-in-one expense management, budget forecasting capabilities, and even build policies into the technology to streamline every aspect of business travel.
We hope this post was helpful. If you have additional questions about how technology-enabled business travel management can streamline processes and also save your company money, the TravelBank team is here to help.