If you’re an employee, business travel and work trips are enjoyable and productive.
However, if you're in charge of managing business travel for a whole company, you may find yourself on a rollercoaster ride.
So, what exactly do corporate travel managers do?
As the name implies, they manage travel needs for employees, customers, vendors, and business partners.
Their responsibilities include booking flights, arranging accommodations, and other miscellaneous costs and tasks.
Globalization has had a significant impact on the travel industry, and with that, the need to reduce costs has increased.
In corporate travel, company policies and procedures are created to reduce costs and streamline the business process for a more efficient, effective, and streamlined operation.
Let's take a look at how to establish an efficient corporate travel management system for your company.
Challenges in Corporate Travel Management
Business travel continues to be a challenge for many companies. Despite your best efforts, you may still have to invest a significant amount of time and effort just to complete what should be simple.
It doesn't have to take a lot of time or effort to complete such tasks. Let's explore some of the challenges corporate travel managers face.
1. Handling Large Amounts of Requests
This is a common challenge for small businesses. It's one of the responsibilities that are primarily the responsibility of the administration or finance department. If this isn't handled well, it can disrupt other duties and responsibilities they need to handle.
Requests are coming in from every corner of the business. An email comes from one teammate, and a Slack message comes from another.
In addition, you have employees who come to you in person, which further distracts you from what you are supposed to be doing.
Interactions between these two groups are problematic because of their disparate, inconsistent nature.
2. Tracking Approvals
A person in charge of administration or finance must track requests and ensure that travel has been authorized by the proper people. In most companies, a manager or team leader must approve the request, but some also need the CEO's signature.
More steps have been added to an already lengthy process. However, they are mandatory, so it's difficult to avoid them.
3. Keeping Spending in Check
Businesses must travel for growth, and it‘s considered essential to their success. However, the costs that come with it can be very burdensome.
Many employees love to take advantage of these opportunities, but this may mean that the business’s travel budget is spread thin. When this occurs, managers may decide not to approve reasonable requests.
4. Reducing Errors
Errors can be costly. The time that your finance team wastes fixing an employee's work is time that could have been spent on more productive activities… that is, if the mistakes can be fixed.
Lost receipts, incomplete expense claims, and incorrect types of expenses may distract your team from other responsibilities.
Best Practices for Corporate Travel Management
1. Choose a Smart Booking Tool
It's not surprising that businesses worldwide started booking travel via consumer sites after the advent of online booking sites.
Without booking tools, there’s a lack of oversight from the CFO, and the finance departments are tasked with micromanaging travel spending for the entire company in a controlling manner.
Transformation is impossible without technology. To manage travel today, choose a tool that’s built on trust, transparency, and simplicity (don't forget).
2. Assure 24/7 Travel Support
It’s difficult to provide travel support 24 hours a day. It's easy to get overwhelmed when cancellations, changes, and other requests consume your workday and flood into your night and weekend.
When you're unable to assist, travellers get stuck waiting for fixes that ultimately cost your business money and time. An ideal solution would be to partner with a company that’s able to provide 24/7 travel support so that your role as an office manager or travel manager is relieved.
3. Create Policies and Approval Workflows
Automating your business travel policy offers three key benefits in your travel management process. The first benefit is that you’re able to maintain compliance with your travel policies on a 24-hour basis.
Since they no longer have to book all trips, the administration team saves time. Travellers enjoy the convenience of booking their own trips.
You should consider putting in place a more complex policy for departments or members of your team with special travel needs. This allows the company to adopt a flexible policy instead of one that applies to the entire company.
It’s possible to set up automated travel policies so that they are either as strict or as lenient as you desire. You want to have a simple process in place in case a traveller attempts to book a trip that's outside the policy.
For an admin who’s regularly approving trips, having a dashboard that shows you everything pending approval can be extremely helpful.
They’ll always have an updated record of trips in progress, and they won't ever have to dig through their email account.
4. Schedule & Use Travel Spend Data
Admins aren't the only ones who benefit from effective travel management. Collaboration between your finance and operations teams is key when it comes to managing expenses. If you want travel expenses reported correctly, you'll want detailed information too.
You can generate smart reports that will help the finance team identify trends, leaks, and opportunities for budget optimization by using cost centres and labels and by making sure that all your trips are included in the booking tool’s reporting software.
To Wrap-It Up
It’s safe to say that corporate travel managers are critical to ensuring that your company remains safe and secure while travelling, while also looking for ways to reduce any costs relating to business travel.
That’s why travel managers love Locomote, we give them everything they need to look like superheroes within their business while giving them more time back in the day to support the company in other areas.