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How Corporate Travel and Expense Management Is Evolving Post-pandemic

ANUSREE BHATTACHARYA | December 3, 2020

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The travel industry is getting back to business, and demand has skyrocketed for travel technologies that make interactions possible between companies and corporate travelers. A recent Gartner survey reveals how 2020 affected CFOs with their corporate travel and expense management tasks globally.

How will finance teams report and forecast expenses? How can corporate travel costs be managed? How to manage travel expense management processes effortlessly? Does this sound familiar to you? These were a few valid questions that kept companies engaged in finding answers during the pandemic.

Many finance leaders want to implement proper corporate travel and expense management services and find solutions to bring consistency and clarity to their financial processes. While switching from manual processes to automated management systems can be difficult post-pandemic, with an efficient travel and expense management tool or software, your company can gain optimum benefits and stay productive in the future. This article will show you how it evolved through the coronavirus phase efficiently.
 

Adoption of T&E Management Process for Seamless Work Experience

An American Express survey found that 55% of the chief executives and senior financial managers ranked rising travel and expense costs as a top concern during the peak pandemic phase.

Digital transformation of your processes is a critical strategy for spend management, and it ensures that employees are using the right product to get the best value. By adopting an efficient travel and expense management tool, your company can gain stellar benefits for your finance team to cater varied requirements, and keep a rigorous control over corporate travel spend.

Before looking into how travel expense management processes are evolving post-pandemic, here are the benefits and value travel and expense management solutions offer. Also, this will further facilitate your finance team to manage the current corporate travel scenario effectively.
 

Benefits of Travel and Expense Management Solutions

The travel and expense management didn’t disappear during the pandemic. Instead, it accelerated its core value. The idea of integrating travel and expense management services with the help of big data in the travel industry is to leverage best practices for travel expense management that can help analyze and extract key information to diverse corporate travel finance functions.
 

Travel industry leaders who are integrating effective travel expense management services in their corporate travel system have experienced the following benefits:

  • Automatic processes of expenditure
  • Data-driven decisions are smarter
  • Time-saving mechanism
  • Simplifies budgeting
  • Ability to forecast more accurately
  • Delivers better user experience
  • Quick access to integrated data from expenditures
  • Gain deep data visibility
  • Higher rate of compliance with corporate policies in finance

These significant upticks will benefit your company and will simultaneously improve your corporate travel policies. Understanding these benefits will help you identify how travel technology can help your company manage complex financial tasks that arose during the pandemic.

According to a Gartner survey, a travel expense management system is essential as a key solution to manage the corporate travel economy. Any company, big or small, needs to control its expenditure to recover during the pandemic.

Complex Forms of T&E Management Are Gone

Legacy processes may get a job done, but they are more time consuming, error-prone, and do not provide visibility into travel spend. And when your travel and expense management process is slow and cumbersome, it can slow down the growth trajectory of your business.

Corporate travel and expense management automation and its associated features like corporate travel policy, quick and easy booking, automated expense and reimbursement solutions, live credit card feeds, backup analytics capabilities, and more have taken precedence post-pandemic. These services offer more visibility into the travel spend of your employees. With top travel and expense management solutions, your finance teams can monitor and control costs and expenses in the long run.

While many corporate travelers have started researching and organizing trips online, you need to add value to financial services by adopting automated travel and expense management solutions that work effortlessly.
 

Core Focus Areas of Travel and Expense Management

The post-pandemic era has seen a lot of companies embracing new and updated travel and expense management solutions to drive cost savings, and enable finance teams to have a better control over their road warriors. Here are some:

Contactless Data Record Is the next Big Thing

Travel and expense management systems allow employees to record all corporate travel bills and receipts through mobile apps and create expense reports immediately. Big data in the travel industry has played a significant role during the pandemic. Technology leaders have already experienced the benefits of travel and expense management.

For example, TripActions’ travel and expense management platform uses data to learn about business travelers’ preferences, and predicts within 30 seconds what travelers are going to book with 90% accuracy. The advantage of big data to travel and expense management has already organized several effortless finance processes for corporate travelers to experience seamless budgets.

Automation Is Crucial

Integrating travel and expense management solutions could easily add to the unimaginable overheads that companies are experiencing. Automation is one of these solutions. Its integration in the travel and expense management system will give rise to a paperless world that will facilitate finance functions to build an audit trail. With this, it also ensures total compliance to keep the organization and its process fast.

Agile Technology Is the Enabler

Critically for the travel industry, agile technology has allowed multiple methodologies for incremental development in corporate travels, which has transformed the processes from rigid to flexible. The agile process in corporate travel and expense management allows analyzing tangible results on expense. The approach also provides the potential to change plans according to the requirements.

For example, Lola.com, the agile travel management company is helping corporate travelers book, re-book, and take the task of expense reports off the table easily. Finance teams arrange travel policies in minutes and equally manage, control, and view expenditure effortlessly. In short, agile technology is making it much easier for travelers and companies all round.

To address the use of agile technology in travel and expense management, Jeanne Hopkins, former CMO at Lola.com, the agile travel management company shares

“Finance teams at Lola.com have tried managing, controlling, and got visibility into expenditures efficiently by implementing travel and expense management. Small and mid-sized businesses have to be fast and dynamic in the changing scenario of travel, so that actions like booking, re-booking, and managing corporate travel could be performed with efficiency and results in high productivity.”

A Hassle-free Expense Management System

Expense has been one common challenge with corporate travel programs. Integrating travel and expense management in your company can eventually introduce you to a hassle-free work solution. As the process involves collecting receipts from multiple sources, either from hotels, flights, or car rentals, travel and expense management solutions make it easier for a manager to look at all corporate travel costs at once. Also, in terms of future travel spend and potential savings, the capability of this management remains exceptional. Modern travel and expense management solutions also include self-service, real time, and easy navigation.

For example, for travelers, Lola.com has a large inventory of flights and hotels that allow users to avoid going to various sites to compare fares, and save preferences, loyalty programs, and provides payment options in one place. Traveler profiles are automatically stored so that users can book with one click. The 24/7 support team then ensures easy booking and re-booking for its users without any delay.

End-to-End Integration Is the New Order of Workforce

End-to-end integrated systems in your company will help your finance team implement best practices for travel expense management. This will make it easier for your employees to initiate, approve, and pay each transaction out of hundreds within minutes, thereby creating a seamless task without any manual involvement.

Travel and Expense Management Trends

When you automate your travel and expense process, it will not only maximize your returns but, at the same time, it will minimize your spending. This will save you both time and money. Below are the reasons you will want to consider making a switch to automate from a manual process.

Remove Guess Work from Expense Process

For finance personnel in your company, the new travel and expense management system can be set up in five minutes. One of the travel and expense management tools, like Expensify, helps with easy expense tracking and reporting. Similar to this, SpendCatcher – a mobile application of MobileXpense.com that is infused with AI and deep machine learning extracts payment information with just one tap.

Supplier-direct Bookings

Companies whose employees use a corporate travel and expense management system can receive reports according to department, employee, direct travel supplier, hotel, or car rental company. This information helps managers analyze spending patterns by actively monitoring it with up-to-date information in one flow from various travel suppliers.

In this case, Concur TripLink connects to corporate travelers for direct bookings across the borders. It gives visibility of bookings no matter where it is booked.

True Visibility into Spending

The corporate travel and expense report management system automatically flags and creates analyses of dashboards highlight hidden expenditure. This can be helpful to know:
  • How much expenditure is going in personal corporate travel cards, and why
  • Find expense categories easily
  • Find out why expense is falling short and ask for details

In this context, MasterCard International is rapidly approaching towards a smart, web-based expense management system to control spending, generate comprehensive spending reports, and accurately integrate purchase data. Thus, delivering business efficiently, quickly, and easily.

Rise of Bleisure Travel

Corporate travel and expense management also includes ‘bleisure travel’ for corporate travelers, those looking to combine business travel with leisure time. With agile travel and expense management tools, you can make quick changes in plans to keep your employees and finance team happy and productive while mapping the budget. In this case, Lola.com has made travel and expense management real by providing an effortless way to manage, book, and report on business plus leisure travel, by encouraging its employers to save most of their time and money.

Travel technology offers a deserving platform with travel and expense management to companies for added efficiency and visibility over travel spend. As corporate travel businesses are returning rapidly towards their regular work scenarios, the travel industry will see a rise in revenue. Travel and expense management system will be one of the powerful remedies to the travel industry and will increase its scope to drive growth post-pandemic.

According to the new Skift report, 88% of corporate travelers will drive travel technology company growth. 86% of corporate travel managers believe it. Put an end to complex budget management and legacy processes; it is time to know how to manage travel expenses in corporate.
 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is travel and expense process?

The aim of the travel and expense process is the complete administration of travel expenses, including the recording of expenses, posting in Financial Accounting (FI), and allocation in Controlling (CO) and Funds Management (FI-FM). The process also involves the valuation of costs associated with business-related activities.

Why is expense management important?

Expense management is important for businesses because it helps employees to keep an accurate track of expenses. This caters to them to plan financial aspects for the future with more clarity and confidence. Capital flow is a daily process in any business, so to manage some significant amounts could get efficiently done through expense management and generate a profit.

What is travel and expense management?

Travel and expense management is a process that includes finance management by the employee when on a business trip or any expense is made for business goals. Each travel and expense management consists of detailed records of costs, expenditure, budgeting, and report submission.

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The most crucial features to manage expenses are: Real-time policy checks The seamless expense reporting process Digital audits Advanced level of data analyses Easy approval process { "@context": "https://schema.org", "@type": "FAQPage", "mainEntity": [{ "@type": "Question", "name": "What you should know about expense management software?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "Here are some benefits of an expense management software: Ease of access Minimum manual intervention Higher cost savings Faster reimbursements Eco-friendly process (no paperwork) A simple process that simplifies workflow Encourages errorless work and delays Your employees can find the best travel and expense management solutions using various expense travel management software." } },{ "@type": "Question", "name": "How to manage travel expenses?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "There are several travel and expense management solutions to manage travel expenses. Here are some ways in which you can manage your travel expenses: Keep a track of expense details Plan ahead before setting a policy Stay aware of the policies Have an effective approval process of expense Organize spend data" } },{ "@type": "Question", "name": "Why use an expense management software?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "An expense management software helps a business ease expense reporting, manage other aspects, and deliver the right travel and expense management solutions. It offers efficient workflow to the finance teams while recording expenses, data, approvals, controlling costs, and more." } },{ "@type": "Question", "name": "What are the most crucial features to manage expenses?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "The most crucial features to manage expenses are: Real-time policy checks The seamless expense reporting process Digital audits Advanced level of data analyses Easy approval process" } }] }

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Face recognition technology is currently being used to identify potential threats. Its usage in the tourism business has improved security systems and increased reliability. In November 2020, SITA announced a trial with Etihad. The employees completed all check-in procedures for corporate travelers within minutes and conducted security processes through their mobile devices. It replaced in-person check-ins with identity cards as a form of authentication. The recognition technology also introduced voice control opportunities in the travel industry. Voice control technology initiates spoken commands services in airports as well as hotel rooms. Robots The future of the travel industry will soar because of emerging self-service opportunities. Corporate travel companies will offer contactless, faster, easier, and flexible services. In this case, robotic technology will become the center stage of the latest travel business opportunities and trends. Various accommodations, check-in, and check-out services at airports will witness extensive use of robotic technology. Business travelers will also find the optimum use of this technology during their stays. Robot technology has made an important way for businesses in the tourism sector as it introduced many new travel opportunities that never existed (not even before the pandemic). Cyber Security Enhancement Cybersecurity is one of the emerging travel industry trends and introduced the most demanding opportunities in the travel industry. The pandemic increased the risks of cyberattacks. Due to this, data have become vulnerable and can cause damage to tourism events worldwide. As travel companies employ many people and may have access to plenty of data, the marketers will have to enhance cybersecurity measures. Some of the biggest threats in this area include phishing attacks and ransomware attacks. To prevent these types of threats, you will have to invest in cybersecurity training, include various hardware and software solutions to keep your business safe. Cybersecurity has brought many promising opportunities in the travel industry. So, the opportunities in the travel industry for cybersecurity will uncover its potential and help companies work efficiently. Big Data Travel opportunities, along with big data, are evolving and will triumph in the future of the travel industry. In a modern business model in the tourism market, big data has played a pivotal role. One of the biggest uses for this data is to improve personalization. As more travel business opportunities have evolved, it has helped employees gather information about corporate travel within minutes. In this way, big data boosted many other opportunities in the travel industry. It will prosper through the pandemic scenario and the future of the travel industry. Another valuable use of big data has helped to analyze current business performance. For example, hotel owners can use big data for revenue management purposes and expect travelers' demand. So, a predictable demand can optimize pricing and promotional strategies. Embracing the latest travel trends is vital for companies to be successful in the travel and tourism sector. Adopting some of these travel trends as a part of your business model can open more doors of opportunities in the travel industry in 2021. Frequently Asked Questions What are the opportunities in tourism industry? The opportunities in the travel industry range broadly in sectors like transportation services, tour operation services, accommodation, travel agencies, tour operation services, and hospitality. How are trends changing the travel industry? The latest trends that are changing the travel industry are majorly in terms of technology and the high involvement of the internet. Along with that, the proliferation of budget airlines and affordability are also other trends changing the travel industry. What are the six segments of the travel industry? The six segments of the travel industry include: Airlines Hospitality Corporate travel Transportation Logistics Lodging { "@context": "https://schema.org", "@type": "FAQPage", "mainEntity": [{ "@type": "Question", "name": "What are the opportunities in tourism industry?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "The opportunities in the travel industry range broadly in sectors like transportation services, tour operation services, accommodation, travel agencies, tour operation services, and hospitality." } },{ "@type": "Question", "name": "How are trends changing the travel industry?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "The latest trends that are changing the travel industry are majorly in terms of technology and the high involvement of the internet. 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Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau

Who We Are The Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau (PHLCVB), a private non-profit membership corporation, is the official Tourism Promotion Agency for the City of Philadelphia, and the primary sales and marketing agency for the Pennsylvania Convention Center. The PHLCVB competes with its counterparts worldwide for convention and tourism business. The organization has departments dedicated to the PHL Diversity, PHL Life Sciences and PHL Sports.

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