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 | 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.
Article | December 29, 2020
2020 flatlined travel opportunities, opportunities of the tourism industry and hit the global travel industry due to the pandemic. Due to this, many changes in the travel and tourism industry are witnessed today and shall be so in the upcoming years. Many travel industry leaders faced hardship in navigating through the crisis. For them, it was like sailing through a hurricane. As the pandemic's effect hasn't completely faded, the businesses in the tourism sector are trying harder to keep their companies above the water. They have maintained a positive approach to surviving this tough phase and focused on long-term growth.
On the other hand, some businesses responded optimistically to the damage caused by the pandemic. They have positively adapted to new opportunities that emerged in the travel industry and experienced success. Such an incident illustrates the travel industry's potential. Yet, the industry has to chart many ways to overcome this challenging time.
The emerging tourism trends have created a ton of opportunities for travel businesses to reshape. Nevertheless, some travel and tourism industry changes have evolved because of a shift in operational dynamics due to the pandemic's effect. It also changed several tourism events worldwide. Many business travel trends, which received attention before the pandemic, are being less considered now. In contrast, some business travel trends have become vital on the corporate travel businesses' end. Therefore, whatever aspect of the tourism sector your business is involved in, you need to keep your finger on the pulse. The current opportunities in the travel industry can be beneficial for your business. It is all because of technology and its advantages. To learn about it, this article provides a list of the latest opportunities in the travel industry for 2021.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
AI is one technological advancement that has increased opportunities in the travel industry, mainly travel for business opportunities. Today, businesses in the tourism sector are using many technology devices and tools. One of them is chatbots, which use AI to automate and streamline all sales and marketing tasks. Chatbots provide a wealth of information about monitoring data analytics, lead generation, bookings, automated travel assistance, and more.
AI algorithms are a crucial aspect of maintaining efficiency in the future of the travel industry. Sophisticated AI is becoming vital for airports. With such development, airports will use visually enabled analysis supported by AI-based recommendations. It will improve operational efficiency for all businesses in the tourism sector to work effortlessly. With such developments, AI is gaining prominence under the current trends in the global tourism industry.
Internet of Things (IoT)
As IoT has already gained recognition in the technology world, it is becoming one of the emerging trends in the tourism industry by bringing in various travel opportunities. In 2021, businesses in the tourism market will see the potential of IoT as it will mature the existing network of data-producing devices. Examples of IoT technologies are robotics, autonomous vehicles, virtual agents, and machine learning. Since the pandemic addressed immediate needs like sanitization, social distancing, and automation, IoT gave rise to several opportunities in the travel industry simultaneously.
IoT initiated the concept of contactless travel. This provides travelers with all the booking information in a single click and offers automated accommodations with controlled systems, voice commands, and more. In the case of point, Amazon introduced a hospitality-oriented version of Alexa virtual assistant. The addition of Alexa will continue to be an important travel industry trend. It has introduced many business opportunities in the travel industry; some are instant booking services and travel assistance. These gained immense prominence when the travel industry resumed its operations after less impact of the pandemic. This trend is set to fetch more and more opportunities in the travel industry in 2021.
Virtual Reality (VR)
Virtual reality has been a useful tool for many businesses in the tourism sector. Virtual reality offered unique types of tourism events worldwide with virtual tours of accommodation to business travelers from their homes. In this way, it gave transparency to the accommodation and its look before arriving. A host of low-cost VR devices such as the Google Cardboard and Samsung Gear headset were used in the initial stage when the travel industry was still resuming from the global pandemic and travel business opportunities were rising.
VR technology benefits businesses as one of the most desired business travel trends during the decision-making phase, especially during a pandemic like COVID-19. It will ensure all the travel processes to take place safely and in smarter ways in the future of the travel industry. While many promising opportunities in the travel industry are emerging, it’s already speculated that businesses in the tourism sector will set VR as one of the most used travel industry trends for 2021.
Augmented Reality (AR)
AR is also becoming one of the most influential technologies in the travel industry. It opens several doors of opportunities in the travel industry. It offers a convenient way for marketers to give business travelers a taste of what they can expect. The technology highlights a digital version of accommodations, videos, 360-degree views of locations, vehicles, and more. During the pandemic, some travel companies took a step further by offering exceptional booking process through AR technology to their employees. A growing number of companies are at an experimental stage with AR headsets and finding them useful. Using this, companies have started offering many travel opportunities, making it more advanced and safer than what was before the pandemic. The technology is offering many opportunities in the travel industry, along with applications.
The concept of personalization is also one of the growing travel industry trends. Today, many travel businesses are offering personalized options for making travel plans as per personal preferences. It includes accommodations, flight booking, car rentals, and other such amenities. Personalization introduced many opportunities in the travel industry for marketing as well. It uses data of travelers to promote and advertise personally and shows information about a prior purchase or a list that you checked out at a particular time.
For example, bd4travel is providing an AI platform to transform travel websites. Using artificial intelligence with machine learning, bd4travel works with online travel companies. They deliver individual buying experiences in real-time. All these were possible because bd4travel adapted the latest opportunities of personalization. This became relevant in the travel industry during this pandemic. Personalization also brought several travel business opportunities and gained prominence. Thus, it is predicted to spread in the future, like other opportunities in the travel industry.
Recognition technology has also brought some vital opportunities in the travel industry. It introduced some of the best high-tech identification tools such as face recognition, fingerprint, and other biometric methods. 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.
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.
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:
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"text": "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."
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Article | May 18, 2021
We know from Amadeus’ recent Travel Payments Guide study that increasingly travelers are moving to new, contactless, payment methods. In fact, 37% of travelers told Amadeus that paying with a non-card method or digital wallet was a top priority. This is good news for the industry as e-wallet payment methods can help play an important role in helping to manage the complexity resulting from the crisis in several ways.
PayPal has been working closely with Amadeus for quite some time, offering an alternative payment method to airlines as part of Amadeus’ Payment Platform. This means airlines can decide to offer PayPal to travelers through their websites across global markets with transaction references, helping to ease reconciliation. Thanks to Amadeus’ Agent Pay innovation travelers can also choose to pay with PayPal at the call center or even in face-to-face environments, with a secure link to make payment provided by the agent. But the onset of the pandemic brought new challenges, for which PayPal‘s service is uniquely suited.