Article | December 10, 2020
As every department is going through digital transformation in travel companies, finance processes are no exception. The advancements in technology are influencing how travel expense management is evolving. Technology is widely affecting how travel expenses are captured, submitted, audited, processed, and reimbursed. The automated travel expense management is helping most of the corporate travel companies with inclusion of the latest travel management and expense management tools.
In 2016, the share of corporate travel expense management was US$1.3 trillion; therefore, by 2023, it is predicted to hit US$1.6 trillion. Companies today are rethinking modern travel expense management policy and developing corporate travel expense management system including expense management best practices. They are actively using travel management and expense management tools to create a smoother workflow.
Looking at these developments in expense management policy, it’s important to understand what companies were facing before implementation of automated version of expense management system.
Main Hurdles While Managing Travel and Expense
Multiple layers of forms
Delayed submission of expense reports by employees
Increased processing cost
Lack of visibility into the process
Heaps of productive hours were wasted because of the manual processes involved in the expense management policy. Managing the excel reports and cross-verification for policy compliance resulted in increased costs. Delayed submission of expense reports caused late input tax credit claims, which affected businesses to generate revenue. Consequently, to minimize the hurdles of managing travel expenses, an automated travel expense management system, and some best practices for travel expense management were the need of the hour.
An Overview: Modern Travel Expense Management
Modern travel and expense management systems and its practices help employees manage the financial process in real and measurable ways. The system governs how the finance team spends company money on corporate travel and other related expenses. It includes an automated expense management process, which has drawn attention to seamless receipt generation, auditing, reimbursing, submission of finance reports, and cost savings.
To implement modern travel expense management, some best practices for travel expense management are suggested to help build a consistent workflow. Many corporate travel companies have included it to automate the expense management process but are little aware of practices that can enhance their workflow. In this scenario, it's important to know the importance of including the best practices for travel expense management.
Why Talk about Best Practices for Travel Expense Management?
In the finance department, various types of frauds such as multiple reimbursements, overstated expenses, fictitious expenses, and more always stay at the top of the mind for most CFO’s. A well-controlled travel expense management system helps prevent misuse of company assets and prohibits misconduct from dealing with such situations.
According to the Aberdeen group’s research, 43% of top travel companies and their CMOs consider T&E management a critical strategy for their company to handle travel expenses. In comparison, 48% of them say they “need to reduce expense processing costs,” which is why they implemented best practices for travel expense management.
Whether large or small, companies realize the potential benefits of a well-managed travel spend mechanism that had best practices for travel expense management to automate the expense management process. They invested heavily in expense management software, which helped them frame a consolidated expense management policy.
In the end, corporate travel policy best practices need to be tailored specifically to employees to create best-in-class expense management and improve performance. By following expense management best practices, you can also define and implement an accurate policy and ensure your employees implement potential tools to automate the expense management process. This will create an efficient finance process that will lead to a friction-free travel and expense management system. If you are updating your finance functions, this small expense management guide to the best practices for travel expense management will help you far to reach your goals.
Best Practices for Travel Expense Management
Create Ownership of the Policy
Before you start implementing T&E management as a critical strategy, defining ownership of the policy clearly is crucial. Ideally, your finance team needs to understand it thoroughly while using the best expense management software. Creating ownership of the policy will benefit as follows:
First: You will have clear ownership that will ensure that your finance team tracks the policy accurately and makes necessary changes to cater to corporate travelers and their requirements.
Second: Your employees will be able to address queries and concerns related to corporate travel a defined way. This way it will become easier for them to handle multiple queries at a time and cater to possible services.
Include Simple Policies
Your expense management policy should outline what it is accurately. It can only be practiced if you keep policies simple based on the company’s culture and its budget. Using the right travel management and expense management tools, your company’s travel expense management mechanism will be quick and easy for employees to work on expenses claimed by corporate travelers, submit, and audit them. Including simple policies will help employees track receipts through mobile applications and even upload them immediately. This entire process will help minimize errors and lessen receipt loss possibilities.
Accurate Expense Reporting
To include accurate expense management reporting is considered one of the most successful best practices for travel expense management. Around 30% of CFOs believe that to review expenses reporting for policy violation is the biggest pain point. As you automate the expense management process, the mechanism of expense reporting and expense claim management also gets smarter. There are multiple benefits to have a sound reporting system.
It gives budget creators a better understanding of how a specific travel expense budget is consumed.
Finance teams get a proper structure and create a defined spending pattern to identify transactions so that there are no fraud possibilities in the management system.
The reports under expense reporting become accountable because the total spends are available to senior management for a broad review.
Expense Payments Are Timely Processed
The right expense management software usage can help your employees process expense payments on time and faster to reduce errors. By implementing this expense management best practice, your employees can present expense reports timely to managers. An automated expense management system eliminates the tedious job of manually checking expense payment violations and encourages initiating flawless expense payment processing.
To keep accountability in expense management is vital for a finance manager. The automated travel and expense management system creates an opportunity to enable accountability option for your company’s expense plan so that managers are made aware of the transactions, submission of reports, expense claims, reimbursements, and more that are taking place. In order to gain high accountability in these areas, the new travel expense management process provides easy access to review and gives appropriate reports. You can easily implement this corporate travel policy best practice to your system and keep a check using expense management software that provides access via mobile applications. Practicing this will give your finance team more power and guide them to generate better revenue annually.
Conduct Regular Audits
By implementing this as best practices for your travel and expense management, you can efficiently conduct regular audits of the travel expense. Many CMOs have followed it and attained success while implementing it. Similarly, a regular audit also identifies areas of improvement and can point variances that could generate exemplary revenue. Practicing this in your finance process will also help uncover expense fraud. In this case, the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners’ (ACFE) reveals, 20% of small businesses and 13% of larger firms reported fraudulent expense reimbursements in 2019. The activities that were highlighted as
Multiple reimbursements for the same expense
After putting your time and effort into recreating a new travel and expense management system and inculcating best practices for travel expense management in your company, it is crucial to choose the right ways to enforce it. Consistent use of best practices for travel expense management will let you save costs, and there will be no adverse impact on your company's budget. You can make effective decisions for your business as it eradicates your finance team's hurdles that were before.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a travel and expense policy?
A travel and expense policy is a set of rules that covers the process of reimbursement and claims for expenses that are incurred by employees on corporate travel plans. This policy outlines how a company’s employees should set procedures for corporate travel.
What is business travel management?
Business travel management includes policies that set a company’s function in a strategic way. It includes various types of contracts made with airlines, hotel chains, rental car companies, and other business travel related management services.
What is expense management?
Expense management works according to two key elements—how a business pays for employee-initiated expenses and how to track all employee-initiated spending. In this, management of costs is included mainly for corporate travel, accommodation, meals, flights, and car rentals.
What is expense management automation?
Expense management automation encourages services like collection, storage, submission, reporting to function automatically. It implies the use of analytical tools to help companies maintain accountability and compliance through accurate tracking and reporting process.
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"text": "Expense management automation encourages services like collection, storage, submission, reporting to function automatically. It implies the use of analytical tools to help companies maintain accountability and compliance through accurate tracking and reporting process."
Article | December 16, 2020
Data science has lead to marvelous opportunities for many industries. Like so many other industries, the travel industry would greatly benefit from knowing future travel information in advance. Fortunately, there is no need to rely on some fortunetellers anymore, but take advantage of Big Data.
Big Data in the travel industry is driving in the right direction, especially after the pandemic, as companies had to be more technologically advanced to cater to their regular operations effortlessly. And big data is now transforming the way businesses used to conduct their operations. It has started taking care of everything that a traveler expects from the traveling organizations in terms of personalized offers to products and more. In this digital period, where everything is hyperconnected, new technologies and big data analysis have become essential for the travel industry to adopt new consumption models and improve the decision-making process.
Many industry leaders are already using big data in the travel industry. Still, but you may not understand the real value it can provide for your business or how is big data being used in the travel industry. With a closer look at the ways big data is transforming the travel industry, you can determine how your business can benefit from its use. Before you reach this point, a brief about significant big data challenges in the travel industry can help you understand how you can improve your company.
What were Big Data Challenges?
Unorganized structure of data
Privacy and security
5 Ways Big Data is being Used in Travel Industry Businesses
So how exactly is big data going to affect your company? Amadeus's research study identifies two segments of change, one is the operations, and the other is marketing strategies.
Companies in the travel industry, such as car rental companies, tour operators, airlines, and more, must find a way to improve their overall functionalities to meet goals. To stand out, you must have a unique approach to market your products. Using big data, you can easily pinpoint exactly what employees are looking for and then establish a concrete base right out of the gate. When it comes to greater personalization offerings, effective uses of big data analytics help making well-informed decisions. By using big data analytics, the applications provide wide-ranging personalization offerings such as promotions, deals, referrals, and more, keeping an aim to generate revenue.
Identification of Potential Risks
Currently, businesses are struggling to deal with high-risk environments, where a proper risk management process is the need of the hour. Big data in the travel industry has been instrumental in developing new risk management solutions and can enhance the effectiveness of risk management models and build intelligent strategies. This is one potential power of big data is transforming the travel industry.
Price is a critical component to set under marketing strategies. Big data used by travel companies can easily track, analyze, and file the competitors’ prices to get a clear picture of what’s trending. This real-time analytics can help your company track pricing changes and build a consistent pricing strategy for a better workflow for employees. Price strategies can turn into a game-changer for your business goals in the future. Through a transparent idea of what competitors are implementing in their process, your business can execute optimum pricing strategies that would considerably benefit your company by predicting future demand.
As the amount of online transactions has amplified steadily over the years, the rate of fraud has also increased simultaneously. Losing customer data can destroy your business’s reputation. Big data in the travel industry allows companies to plan and implement software that would increase safeguards on sensitive information by leveraging types of technologies, including natural language processing, video recognition, speech recognition, machine learning engines, and automation. This is considered one of the best solutions for how big data is helping the travel industry.
Travel businesses use big data analysis to manage their revenue. Big data in the travel industry has become one essential part of companies that effectively maximizes financial aspects. If you have set a goal in your company to achieve specific revenue, then it is crucial to define a market strategy to offer corporate travelers the right services through the right channel. Because of this, you can manage the prices to maximize the revenue of your company.
Benefits of Big data
From a humble beginning of big data in tourism before the pandemic, it has become a mainstay in the business world. Big data solutions and big data analytics will not only foster taking data-driven decision, but also empower your workforce that add value to your business. According to Harvard Business Review, 99% of companies surveyed reported that they intend to implement big data analytics and AI in the near future. What are other significant big data benefits that you should inculcate it in your business? Here are some of these:
Big data benefits for the travel industry by offering real-time monitoring, forecasting of business, and the market.
Unlock the true potential of data-driven marketing.
Facilitate faster delivery of services and products that meet and exceed the client’s expectation.
How Businesses can Analyze Big Data?
To understand big data, you firstly need to know the points that need solutions. Then, attempt to identify the answer to your questions such as, ‘how can I get the data to solve it?’ or ‘what can big data do for my business?’ Your big data solutions need to be effortless. It is important to match what you had in mind for pricing and make it flexible to serve your business in the future.
Research the most reliable big data tool so that it can serve to provide you the right solution. For example, if you want to introduce more effective promotions and marketing campaigns, you can use Canopy Labs, to predict big data travel behavior and sales trends.
The travel and tourism industry uses big data with the help of several tools that are inexpensive or even free to use. Google also has user-friendly tools like Google Adwords and Google BigQuery. So, don’t feel overwhelmed by all the data that’s out there. With the right tools, you can separate the data to find what you need to start growing your business today!
Some Success Stories
KAYAK sets an example of using big data in the travel industry by innovation and spearheads the technological revolution. It has developed a new benchmark in the travel industry using big data for travel management and operations.
United Airlines embraced a “collect and analyze” approach to their big data for travel planning. The company tracks all information using real-time data, including individual and general historical data.
The Schiphol Group, which operates the airport, has reportedly invested in data science packages. A team of big data analysts easily analyze, report, and visualize the constant influx of data of employees on corporate trips.
These developments are reflective of the growing big data analytical trends in the travel and tourism industry. Following the steps of industry leaders, a lot of companies have started the adoption of big data for travel management and improvising their analytical tools to make more informed decisions for future travel mechanism. You can get more interesting and updated news to rely on how big data in the travel industry is transforming.
Future Outlook of Big Data in Travel Industry
Many industry leaders are talking about big data in the travel industry, its evolving benefits and the future of big data within the tourism industry. With the effective uses of big data, your company can use information about employees catering to corporate business services to understand the workflow.
Hadoop, one of the big data applications in the travel industry, provide suffecient data storage space and presents information from a wide range of sources in a structured manner. It enables tourism companies to take immediate decisions as per requirements. Big Data applications in the travel industry help companies introduce new products to have predictive analysis and critical insights about corporate travelers.
What could be anticipated from the future of big data is that travel industry professionals will progressively utilize big data to facilitate their potential benefit. This will genuinely modify what companies would offer corporate travelers equally in the future. With such activities to cater the markets worldwide, big data in the travel industry has formed a clear map.
Frequently Asked Questions
How is big data being used in the travel industry?
Big data in the travel industry is used to observe various marketing strategies and some customer-related patterns and trends. Following these is important to create loyalty among employees as well as customers also. Therefore, the more data a business collects, the more it will understand ways to generate revenue.
What is the future of big data in travel industry?
The future of big data in the travel industry stays impressive as the market leaders can make decisions that are more informed based on analytics and number-driven data. Big data in the future will boost the efficiency of the services and the quality at the same time.
How big data is helping the travel industry?
Big data is helping the travel industry in many ways. It is allowing businesses to make more evidence-driven decisions for revenue. These include the ability to anticipate customers' future demands accurately, re-structure pricing, target more marketing strategies, and improve real marketing tricks.
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"name": "What is the future of big data in travel industry?",
"text": "The future of big data in the travel industry stays impressive as the market leaders can make decisions that are more informed based on analytics and number-driven data. Big data in the future will boost the efficiency of the services and the quality at the same time."
"name": "How is big data in the travel industry helping?",
"text": "Big data in the travel industry is helping in many ways. It is allowing businesses to make more evidence-driven decisions to generate revenue. These include the ability to anticipate customers' future demands accurately, re-structure pricing, target more marketing strategies, and improve real marketing tricks."
Article | March 12, 2020
As markets around the world reel from the turmoil of the COVID-19 coronavirus, companies of all sizes are feeling the effects - perhaps none more so than those in and adjacent to the travel industry. The crisis is forcing companies to reevaluate many aspects of their financial plans for the foreseeable future and - particularly for those operating in the B2C space - to reassess their digital marketing strategies such as paid search. After all, does it make sense to pay for traffic if consumers aren’t buying travel?
Article | March 11, 2020
Payments are now accepted as one of the areas adding friction to the traveler journey, from the booking process to being on a trip, according to new research. The Frictionless Travel Payments: From Complexity To Competitive Advantage report from Amadeus shows that 70% of consumers say a good payment experience would drive them to select a travel provider over a competitor. In addition, 74% say a poor payment experience affects the enjoyment of their holiday. The study also reveals that 74% of travelers are booking less than two months before departure and millennials are twice as likely to book later than those aged over 55.