Corporate travel admin is the bane of many employers and employees. Despite the huge advances in the management of leisure travel, corporate travel management has remained a mostly manual and cumbersome process.
In many cases companies don’t realise the disadvantage they are putting themselves at by failing to automate their corporate travel management.
In today’s state of technology, organisations should be able to easily set policies and have quick access to all the information they need — including bookings, duty of care and current situation of the places intended to visit, budget, travel requests, expenses and more — on any device, anywhere in the world.
There are five key issues that we see the majority of businesses facing when it comes to managing and organising their employees’ travel:
Delays in approval
The manual processes used by many companies can act as a bottleneck. In some cases, administration officers are required to organise make bookings on behalf of employees, generating a lot of back and forth communication before the travel request is made or approved.
Corporate travel technology platforms now allow organisations to set predetermined approval policies, permitting employees to bypass certain approvals if the travel request fits the company’s pre-set requirements, speeding up the whole process significantly.
Using an automated platform, the company and employees should have all of the information the information they need well in advance of the trip – with small details like reminders about health and visa requirements – it’s easy to anticipate any issues, ensuring no further delays later down the track.
1. Too much paperwork
Corporate travel should be paper free. As a society, we are shifting away from printing every document we need and corporate travellers are no different.
With most business travel bookings made on mobile and tickets, insurance details and hotel booking info available to travellers digitally, the travel pouch has essentially been made redundant.
Paperwork slows down approvals, especially when it needs to be physically updated whenever changed. While it can be a comfort to some to have their bookings and details physically in the palm of their hand, it’s far more simple to use digital versions that can be updated as required. These versions should be available, on any device, anywhere in the world.
Similarly, it can be a pain point for employees to keep copies of every receipt and payment made over the entirety of their business trip. Keeping physical copies to submit for approval upon return is a slow and cumbersome process.
Technology platforms allow receipt claims to be done on the go, submitting via mobile, rather than waiting until after the trip. It means that employees are not out of pocket for prolonged period and ensures that claims are not missed or made in error.
2. Change management
Travel – whether for business or pleasure – can be unpredictable. From meetings that finish early, allowing travellers to get to the airport a couple of hours early, to last-minute cancellations, the processes organisations have in place for booking and managing corporate travel need to be fluid, flexible and easily updated as required.
Travel technology solutions allow bookings to be updated on the go, so that the employee and employer always have the most up-to-date information – including travel warnings and restrictions – and maintain constant communication no matter where they are.
It’s important that the company and employees are aware of all of the relevant Visa requirements and vaccinations. Small details are easy to overlook, but automated reminders and warnings ensure that all parties are up to date with the information they need, prior to the trip.
3. Poor time management
Corporate travel management is a time consuming activity.
While there are plenty of platforms that can be used to meet with people outside of the office, sometimes nothing beats a face-to-face conversation.
That said, it can be difficult to accurately measure the time spent by each employee, booking in travel and actually travelling when considering the overall return on investment of the whole endeavour.
Technology provides companies with the tools they need to be able to accurately measure their investment, and ensure that overspending and unauthorised travel is eradicated.
4. Inaccurate reporting
In order to be successful and cost effective, it’s important that business travel management is proactive rather than reactive. It’s too easy in the rush of everyday business to book travel at the last minute and as needed. To reduce costs, bookings should be made well in advance and the whole trip should offer a decent return on investment.
Manual booking processes make it difficult to measure the results and direction of your corporate travel spend. A sophisticated, easy-to-use booking platform should streamline reporting – allowing organisations to illustrate cost savings, review traveller behaviour and produce exact cost cutting solutions when possible.
Every business needs a system in place to simplify the process for the employees involved in each stage of the corporate travel process – from booking to actually travelling and reporting. Approval, documentation and reporting should be as efficient as possible for employees and employers.
Both should be able to access the information they need quickly and easily – manual travel booking processes in many cases simply don’t meet these requirements.
Dean Weinman is the Chief Commercial Officer at Locomote