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Keys To Successful Business Travel

The value and benefits that corporate travel provides have become more apparent in recent years. Businesses are recognizing the gains that can be achieved through the strategic use of its staff beyond the traditional traveling executive or sales team. And now that companies are recognizing the potential and value of business travel, they are looking to establish smarter and more effective ways to manage travel and entertainment expenses.

Global travel R&D firm, Amaedeus, recently conducted a study that examines the ways to quantify the value of business travel and to better manage T&E spending. Some of the key findings to come out of the study included:

  • Technology is a key driver of improved T&E management
  • Automated expense management systems provide significant benefits over manual processes
  • Having a travel and expense policy in place is critical to maximizing the value of business travel

Now, of course this all resonated with us here. After all, we have been touting the benefits of automated expense management and highlighting the importance of a corporate travel policy since 2008. More surprisingly, this study also uncovered was the differing priorities among C-suite executives when it came to T&E management. For instance, achieving growth was the number one objective for travel and expense management among CEOs. Conversely, CFOs placed more importance on operational efficiency, while CHROs valued employee productivity the most. CIOs were more split between risk mitigation and cost minimization.

With all of these differing priorities among leadership, adherence to travel policies and the use of a streamlined, automated systems are a must. Shockingly, while 100 percent of study participants indicated that they have T&E policies in place, 95 percent allowed for out of policy travel bookings. Furthermore, due to a reliance on outdated processes or lack of policy enforcement:

  • 60% of participants felt that they had insufficient tools for T&E management
  • 80% of participants did not have access to T&E spend information

At gbta.org they note that without the right systems and practices in place, it is near impossible to attain the maximum value out of corporate business travel spending. Through automated expense management solutions that provide data analytics, reporting, travel and entertainment expense policy enforcement, achieving all the goals of corporate leadership is possible. But what features are executive looking for in regard to T&E management?

  • 65% of participants wanted visibility into expense details and analytics functionality to analyze expenses at a more granular level
  • 52% of CxOs wanted to be able to capture out-of-policy travel bookings before they were approved
  • 90% of executives indicated mobile travel booking as a top priority

As the study shows, the keys to unlocking the benefits of corporate business travel are T&E policy enforcement and automated travel and entertainment expense management systems that facilitate a smooth-running process. Overcoming the challenges that are inherent in employee travel are not easy, but with the right tools and processes in place, this report shows the process can be a whole lot easier.

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