When it comes to “business travel”, majority of people will refer to an alluring picture of business class flights, luxury hotels, and pleasant pastimes at a corporate dinner with men in elegant business suits. However, the reality is not exactly like this, business trips can be rather painful both for those who go on business trips and those who administrate them – Businesses have got to spend huge amount of money on travel expense as well as other boatloads of money on corporate travel management to keep up these massive cash streams.
No matter how straightforward business travel management might seem to be, it’s far from simple – there are several moving parts and far too many people are involved in it. By the time employees get their travel requests approved by the manager, the finance team, and the department head, ticket prices might have gone up, hotels are sold out, and you are left paying a whole lot more than you planned.
Fortunately, within the ever-evolving technological landscape, there is an answer to all those troubles, empowering businesses not only to avoid the outdated processes and ineffective expenditures but also save a huge amount of time and resources. And such a wonderful solution gets a name: corporate travel management software.
Before diving into the specifics of travel management software, let’s cast a quick glance over the general market of business travel.
Growing Demand for Corporate Travel
At present, the global market of corporate travel management is one of the largest segments that has yet to be fully disrupted in this modern digital world. As its share was already 1.3 trillion USD in 2016, this segment is predicted to hit 1.6 trillion USD by 2023. Business globalization, coupled with the increased infrastructural investments, has resulted in the rapid travel market growth, particularly in the business travel market.
Depending on the services provided, the global market is segmented into food & lodging, transportation, and recreation spheres. Among these, the highest growth rate is registered within the food & lodging sector, due to the affordable hotels and gaining popularity online booking trend which lowers the cost of the stay.
What is more, the Internet-of-Things penetration into the sphere facilitates the management of various business travel-related processes and brings benefits both to the travelers and agents.
Hence, it’s worth considering getting a piece of such huge and attractive pie and deploying a corporate travel management software, to help you actually choose where your means go.
Corporate Travel Management Software: Key Problems Addressed
Travel management software can be a real catch for every corporation, especially when it comes to some major issues it can solve.
1. Troublesome Corporate Travel Policy Implementation
Whereas employees do not often intend to violate corporate travel and expense regulations, it does happen at times. Why? Simply because some policies may be too long, too confusing or overly complicated. For instance, simply that a worker unintentionally books a hotel outside the company’s preferred provider list can result in a not approved travel report.
To address such a concern, special software can be well-designed with embedded functionality of alerts, adjusted to notify the user if the wrong provider is chosen or set cap or restriction infringed. Thereby, going out of the corporate policy will be prevented, which will benefit both the employee and the accounting department.
2. The Time-Consuming Booking Process
Speaking of the booking process, the travel management software is going to ease your mind with its offer of quick and simple booking procedure through direct and real-time access to various booking services.
An employee can then reserve a flight, a hotel as well as other necessary services in a single place. What’s more, all the travel itineraries or booking details will be stored in one place, making it easy to access, manage, check and use.
3. Lack of Insight into Travel-Related Expenditures
This matter will no longer worry you!
With travel management software at your disposal, you will be provided with the visibility into each and every dollar spent during the business trips of your employees. Being aware of the leakages that your precious means go to, you can reduce costs in a reasonable and painless way.
To take an example, booking tickets in advance not only easily eases away the problem of the high prices but also enables you to approach the hotel most preferred by your company. As a result, both the hotel and your business will benefit from such a deal.
4. Late Expense Report Submissions
Another appealing feature of travel management software is that it does allow you to set the time limits and adjust automatic reminders, preventing you from forgetting about late expense reports. Plus, this tool empowers the accountants to easily make pre-costing using the data for previous periods.
5. Utter Chaos with Workflows
In fact, there are several “tough spots” related to corporate business trips arrangements, typically setting the dates, reducing costs, ensuring policy compliance, and managing payments.
Fortunately, completely automated procedures can help you eliminate chaos and make all the necessary estimations through the software which is well-customized to the business processes and peculiarities of your very company.
Corporate Travel Management Software: Features Worth Looking For
It’s a “must” that your business travel management software covers certain functionalities which are essential both for the traveler and for the company. However, a wide range of functionalities understandably goes together with its high cost. Thus, should you be looking for a ready-made solution, you’d better make the careful travel and expense management software comparison and choose the one corresponding your corporate needs most.
Still, there may be multiple unnecessary features, which neither you nor your employees will ever use. The answer to your problem, in this case, is the smart deployment of a customized corporate solution, which does guarantee you both the best quality-to-price ratio and the cutting-edge result.
Generally, the corporate travel management product should be able to make a booking, to create or apply company policy and regulations, to form automatic expense reports as well as to manage traveling worker data.
Thus, the basic checklist of the critical features in your corporate software solution should include:
- The simplicity of booking for administrators
- Self-reservation option for travelers
- Comprehensive access to all airline and accommodation inventory worldwide
- Automatic travel policy compliance with customizable policies and approval workflows
It’ll get even more ideal for your corporate if your management software can:
- Manage the business trip schedule of a single employee as well as a team
- Ascertain that the employees have all the essential visas and travel-related documents
- Make the most of frequent traveler discounts
- Automate travel-related expense reporting with consolidated invoicing
- Future-ready tool that will scale and adapt
Besides, there are other additional features worth looking forward to:
- Automated timesheets of the employees working hours
- Around-the-clock travel support including direct line, chat, and email
- No additional charge for travel support
- Regular political and social updates of the travel areas/countries
- Weather forecasts at the places of destination
- Detailed road maps
- Detecting potential danger areas
The Best Corporate Travel Management Software for 2019
The growing software market of travel management did nothing but have attracted a great number of players. Obviously, the key ones of them are travel agencies, developing software to bring their services to the new level, startups, which does realize the perspectives of the niche, travel management platforms and corporate tools dedicated to specific companies.
So, how in the world could you choose your best one among the endless range of available travel management tools?
Let’s take a deep look at our pick for the top management software that does stand out in the sphere of the corporate travel market.
Starting off with TravelPerk, it does tackle the booking challenge by putting the world’s largest travel inventory in one place. Just like the sites you use in your personal life, TravelPerk brings different airlines, hotels, trains and a lot more into its dashboard and mobile app, thereby you and your employees only “bother” to visit one platform.
Besides, it’s going to an interesting option particularly preferred by finance teams. Why? The answer is simple: as your whole company books travel in one place, then tracking bookings and producing reports will become incredibly simple.
Moreover, TravelPerk is designed specifically for businesses; hence, they know exactly which particular records you need to keep. Empowered by this vetting solution, you’ll be able to easily see who booked which trip, when, and what for. Now finance teams can give their colleagues autonomy to book trips, and still have control and visibility over what was booked.
“Before TravelPerk, our company was booking trips in a very old school way, … We were booking flights and hotels on consumer websites, and it was a nightmare to keep track of everything.” Olivier Billon, CEO at Ykone
#2. AirBnb for Work
Though AirBnb for Work seems to be a new brand for some, it’s not too different from the consumer version – you can book a wide range of accommodation types for your traveling team.
When it comes to AirBnb for Work’s distinctive features, there are some points that are worth your attention:
- Bookings are linked to the company profile. So, you or your employees can book the property they like, and the accountants will be able to grasp the details and invoice later without having to tiredly “chase” people.
- It’s not just overnight accommodation. Besides available spaces to rent for meetings and conferences, there are several temporary office spaces to rent for a certain period of time.
- AirBnb has delivered various traveling experiences. Its diverse experiences will be an attractive characteristic, especially if you’re taking a group with you on the road and “racking” your brain with enjoyable team-building activities.
“From a software side, the dashboard is so much cleaner and nicer and easier to read than a lot of the other travel software that I use. Airbnb makes it really easy to look at all of our data and pull up our average numbers and total stays and total nights. All of that is a big positive for me,”
Brandon Gries, Travel and Event Coordinator for Hudl – a software company that provides online tools for coaches and athletes.
If you’re not ready to completely say goodbye to travel agents, Flightfox may be an ideal option for you: It does partner with a wide network of travel experts to assist travelers to book the perfect experience every time. Plus, rather than having to go into a travel agent’s office, what you just need is to enter a few details online.
Another noteworthy aspect of such tool is that all services it delivers revolve around one big guarantee:
“We guarantee to beat your quote by more than our fee otherwise our service is entirely FREE. If you don’t receive the best value and service, you can even contact me directly.”
Lauren, co-founder of Flightfox
So, how exactly does this guarantee work?
First of all, you find a quote, which may be from another travel agent, a booking site, or perhaps it’s just the budget for your trip. Then, they’ll tell you the fee you’d be expected to pay to Flightfox, and will return to you with a trip that meets their guarantee. The only catch is, if they can meet their guarantee, you have to book – in other words, they’re not working for free.
In fact, most of its users are genuinely surprised and happy with the service they receive.
But, how can they actually do it? According to Reviewopedia, it’s not magic.
The fact is that most of the flights and hotel deals are available easily online. However, “the reality of air travel most of the time is that the best possible flight prices are generally available for very small windows of timewhich are nearly impossible to predict, so having a team of trip planners keeping an eye on your necessary flights all day long until the find the best option for your needs is truly a great service that has resulted in many people saving hundreds of dollars.”
This is one of the reasons explaining why some travel agents were so successful for so many years. And Flightfox puts a team of them at your disposal wherever you are.
If you’re in search of a solution for your concern about travel expense tracking, then Spendesk is going to be your perfect match.
How do your employees actually pay on their business trips? Whether it’s booking flights online, paying for hotels on arrival, or buying a coffee on the way to a conference, this should all be logged as travel spending for a single event.
No matter how simple it seems to be, the expense recording and tracking practice is extremely tricky in practice. For instance, if a traveler buys the flights with the company card from the office, then pays for the rest with their own money weeks later, it’s not always easy to match these up to the same user and the same budget.
And … Spendesk changes that. It offers you multiple payment methods while always being linked to the same user. Your employees may pay online with a virtual credit card, then take their prepaid expense card with them on the road. As both are in their name, you can always know exactly who’s spending – unlike with the company card.
Even in case they do need to spend their own money, they are also able to automatically generate expense reports and then link these to their same user profile. So again, this spending matches up with the rest.
That all of these spending amounts are logged in real time also lets your accounting team – accurately and effortlessly – track spending as it happens.
“Our share of missing invoices went down from 50% to 5% without having to run after my colleagues. Spendesk saves me so much time, I can finally focus on high value tasks.”
Gaëlle Laudet – Financial controller, La Ruche Qui Dit Oui
All things considered, should you care about safe and secure travel spending, Spendesk is an option you must never ignore!
The Bottom Lines
No matter how straightforward the tasks of travel managing seem to be, it’s – in fact – far from simple due to multiple moving parts and individuals involved in it.
Let’s hit the ground running with these customized corporate travel management and expense tracking software to ease your mind and enjoy numerous financial and operational benefits.