Corporate travel has gained traction after the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to increasing business travel spending, enterprises have been allowing non-essential business travel. Your company or startup can generate incremental revenue by leveraging the return of corporate travel.
But your business cannot increase the ROI of corporate travel without streamlining corporate travel management. While streamlining business travel management, you should focus on helping employees accomplish business travel goals by keeping them safe, motivated, and stress-free.
At the same time, you have to explore ways to control the average cost of business trips despite high inflation and economic slowdowns. We are making it easier for you to streamline corporate travel management by discussing some of the best practices adopted by companies and startups.
12 Best Practices to Streamline Corporate Travel Management
1. Implement a Comprehensive Travel Policy
You cannot streamline a complex business process like corporate travel management without implementing comprehensive policies. The policies will help your employees answer important questions like what travel products they can book, how to get travel expenses reimbursed, and how to manage business travel risks. These travel and expense rules will help them travel confidently for work without overspending.
2. Simplify Business Trip Approvals
You can ensure policy compliance by making pre-trip approval mandatory. Employees will send travel requests to an administrative authority before booking business trips. The manager will review the travel request elaborately and ensure that business travel is for genuine business purposes. However, you need to ensure that an employee’s business travel request is approved or rejected without any delays.
3. Centralize Business Travel Booking
You can boost employees’ business travel experiences by supporting self-travel booking. But it becomes easier for your business to ensure policy compliance and costs when employees book travel products through a single point of contact. Your organization can centralize business travel booking in several ways – deploying an in-house travel manager, working with a travel management company, or implementing travel management software.
4. Negotiate for Better Rates
Global inflation will make it challenging for your organization to control the average cost of business trips. You cannot increase the number of business trips without controlling the average business trip cost. You can control costs by negotiating with airlines, hotel chains, and other suppliers for corporate rates. You can negotiate with suppliers for lower rates directly through the travel manager. Otherwise, you can get lower rates by working with a travel management company.
5. Emphasize Early Travel Booking
It becomes easier for your business to reduce travel spending when employees book travel products and services early. Your travel policies must make employees plan business trips in advance and avoid last-minute travel bookings. However, the policy must allow employees to cancel bookings due to last-minute changes to their business travel plans.
6. Focus on Travel Risk Management
Employees cannot accomplish business travel goals without managing various travel risks successfully. Your organization must help employees manage existing and emerging business travel risks. While making travel policies, you must define traveler safety protocols and emergency response plans. Also, you should make it easier for employees to manage flight delays, flight cancellations, and similar travel risks by ensuring real-time information delivery.
7. Meet Duty of Care Obligations
In addition to helping employees manage business travel risks, your organization must fulfill its duty of care obligations. You must invest in the duty of care resources to ensure that every employee gets real-time support during international business trips. Your organization can avail of comprehensive duty-of-care solutions by partnering with a global health and risk management firm. Also, you can invest in travel management software featuring comprehensive duty-of-care solutions.
8. Automate Travel Expense Reporting
No business can streamline travel expense management in the digital age without eliminating paperwork. Your policies must focus on making employees submit digital expense reports instead of paper-based expense reports. Also, you must help employees generate automated expense reports by implementing an expense management solution. Travel expense reporting will help your business speed up travel expense reimbursements, get real-time spend visibility, and collect travel expense data.
9. Conduct Expense Audits
You cannot control ongoing costs without conducting travel expense audits regularly. Regular travel expense audits will help you evaluate travel expenses, prevent travel expense fraud, and comply with legal rules. However, you must save time and resources by automating travel expense audits. Your organization should invest in an expense management solution that audits expense reports and highlights discrepancies by sending alerts.
10. Leverage Travel and Expense Data
Digitization creates opportunities for your organization to collect travel and expense data of employees. You must leverage real-time data to refine business travel policies, prevent travel policy violations, and control travel costs. The new-age data analytics solutions help to detect patterns and trends by analyzing large volumes of data. You invest in business travel analytics to make informed decisions by getting actionable insights regularly.
11. Adopt Emerging Business Travel Trends
Business travel has been evolving consistently. The emerging business travel trends create opportunities for your organization to get higher ROI by boosting employees’ work travel experience. For instance, you can keep employees motivated by supporting bleisure travel. Likewise, you can meet employees’ expectations by allowing them to book sustainable business travel products. It is always important to keep your policies dynamic to adopt emerging business travel trends early.
11. Consider End-to-End Process Automation
Most organizations these days streamline complex business processes through automation. Corporate travel management solutions help your organization automate the business travel management process fully. You can implement the right travel management software to automate business travel booking and travel expense management processes. Also, the software will help you prevent policy violations and travel expense fraud, along with leveraging travel and expense data.
Your organization cannot generate incremental revenue only by increasing business travel spending. In addition to increasing the number of business trips, you should focus on helping employees accomplish business travel goals. Hence, you should adopt a slew of corporate travel management best practices to make business trips successful without escalating average trip costs.