Article | July 19, 2023
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 | June 19, 2023
Global travel agencies are striving to maintain a competitive edge in the market. They are relying on big data to analyze the current state of the market, automate work processes, and better understand customer needs to streamline their businesses. Big data is now an important part of the future of the travel industry because it helps:
Customer demand forecasting
Optimization of pricing strategies
How is Big Data Sourced?
The following data sources are used to gather big data:
User-Generated Data (UGC) is the most affordable data to obtain and includes textual data gathered through questionnaires, social networks, and image data.
Device data gives access to GPS data, mobile roaming data, bluetooth data, RFID, WiFi data and more. This data is harder to obtain and is expensive.
Web search data, web page visit data, online booking data, etc., constitute transaction data. Advanced web services such as Google Analytics can help collate this data.
The sourced data is analyzed using artificial intelligence, machine learning, and natural language processing (NLP).
How Is Big Data Changing the Way Travel Companies Operate?
With the help of big data, you can increase your performance, get deeper customer insights, and offer an excellent customer experience to travelers. Let us briefly examine how big data can help you achieve all these objectives.
Optimize Your Revenue
Optimize your costs and accurately predict short-term and long-term revenues. Through customer experience metrics, you can also analyze your profit potential, correctly forecast peak period demand and offer relevant services to customers at the right time. As a result, protect your agency from unexpected expenses and make the most of customer demand.
Recognize & Capitalize on Trends
Historical, real-time data and a standard analytical approach help you understand the changing trends in the tourism industry. Then, you can swiftly take measures to adapt to these changing trends and capitalize on the ones that contribute to revenue. Bleisure is an excellent example of such a travel trend.
Improve Your Marketing Campaigns
Big data processes large amounts of information on your target audience and helps you see which marketing campaigns can succeed based on long-term forecasting. Consequently, you can prevent any unexpected losses while executing seasonal marketing campaigns. Additionally, big data collects information on your competitors and target audience in real-time, so you know the kind of marketing campaigns you need to execute to remain ahead in the race.
Enhance Brand Reputation
Big data considers customer reviews and comments to help you understand which aspects of your business need improvement. Internally collected feedback and big data analysis can create a standard to improve the brand reputation of your agency.
Big data in the travel industry is more than just a trend; it is a tool for better understanding the market situation and each customer in general (potential and existing). All of this lays the groundwork for a more personalized approach and accurate prediction of what customers want, and contributes to an elevated customer experience and an increase in revenue.
Article | May 17, 2023
Discover the solutions and services of the top 25 revolutionary travel management companies that are transforming the industry in 2023. Integrate the one adhering your business needs and budget.
Businesses seeking stress-free and streamlined corporate travel solutions can rely on travel management companies. These experts provide customized travel arrangements, taking care of every aspect of business travel, from flight and hotel bookings to travel policy compliance, support, car rentals, and more. With advanced technology and online booking tools, they offer cost-effective deals while ensuring adherence to corporate travel policies. Additionally, they empower businesses to design their travel expense policies, resulting in an enhanced corporate travel experience for employees.
1 Expertise in Field
Travel management companies (TMCs) are experts in the field of business travel. They handle emergencies with proper understanding and remedy measures. Some travel risk management companies are specially devised for this purpose.
2 Being More Organized
TMCs organize the operations of business travel more efficiently. Business travel involves massive paperwork, especially in big groups and itineraries. The paperwork associated with corporate travel is managed by international travel agencies in a way that is organized, thereby enabling travel companies to allocate their attention to other crucial matters.
3 Making Informed Decisions
Employees must adhere to the corporate travel program or policy when they travel for business. Travel policies vary across different organizations and typically encompass guidelines that employees are obliged to follow while traveling. They make travel decisions for the company according to their travel policy. TMCs also advise employees to meet business travel requirements without breaking the company travel policy.
4 Enhanced Networking
TMCs have established relationships with travel and hospitality companies worldwide over the years sent in the industry. Business travel companies or clients could get exclusive rates on travel occasions through TMCs. They provide better deals within a travel budget than any direct travel booking.
5 Expense management
TMCs are specialized in finding and negotiating the best travel deals with enterprise providers and partners. They have special access to lower rates on the airline, hotel rooms, and transportation. As a result, they reduce overall business travel costs and offer competitive name-brand selections.
6 Business Travel Support
The companies can reach out to the travel consultant day and night with business travel support. Furthermore, the employees are free from the stress of tracking various vendors, as they can get all of them on one platform, which is accessible through a variety of different channels.
Top 25 Revolutionary Travel Management Companies
To enhance their business growth, travel companies can utilize the following list of travel management companies as a reference:
More than 12 million business professionals, including CFOs, finance teams, and travelers, trust Emburse in spend optimization for expense, travel management, and payment solutions. It helps FORTUNE 100 corporations, startups, public sector agencies, and nonprofit organizations, through automation, analytics, and spending control. It streamlines processes and increases spending visibility, compliance, and positive financial outcomes.
2. East West Hospitality
East West Hospitality has more than 30 years of success in businesses like association, vacation rental and property management, developer support, hotels, spas, fitness, restaurants, and retail operations. It simplifies complicated travel operations. It makes stay effortless with its extensive experience and local expertise. It offers memorable destination experience through its trusted hospitality services.
3. Wexas Travel Management
Wexas Travel Management is a full-service travel provider to companies and organizations that travel on business. It works with businesses in different sectors like financial, legal, marine, oil and gas, insurance and pharmaceuticals. Its consultant-managed and digital tools are customized to individual requirements. With the support of a well-established account management team, it provides a broad range of travel-related services.
With over 25 years of experience, Nomadix has over 5 million daily internet connections in 150 countries. It helps hotel and property owners, brands, property management groups, and managed service providers (MSPs) with solutions like internet access gateways, application management appliances, visitor-based networks, digital voice assistants, bandwidth management, and managed Wi-Fi.
HotelKey has direct connectivity to major OTAs or GDS channels. Its all-in-one system includes core PMS, built-in CRS distribution, automated revenue management, property website hosting, and a no-commission direct bookings engine. In addition, its platform provides web apps for the back of the house and mobile apps for the front desk, housekeeping, and maintenance teams.
6. Bonotel Exclusive Travel
Bonotel Exclusive Travel, an inbound tour operator for luxury travel, offers exclusive deluxe hotels, resorts, and upscale boutique properties. It has a vast network of suppliers, direct access to the international client base, and tour operators worldwide. It has developed strong business relations with tour operators and can provide access to hotel partners which makes it unique.
7. Peachtree Hospitality Management
Peachtree Hospitality Management, a division of Peachtree Hotel Group, is a best-in-class hotel management company that creates loyalty among the stakeholders like associates, guests, and owners. Its proprietary systems and processes maximize financial performance, enhancing efficiency and customer experience. In addition, it provides dedicated hotel management services with the extension of expertise to owners as a third-party hotel manager.
AmTrav enhances the productivity of business travel. It offers services for expense management, corporate travel, software, travel productivity, and business travel management. In addition, its platform provides personal service with travel experts and relationship managers through advanced technology, which is helpful for business travelers, travel arrangers, and travel managers.
Boatsetter, a leisure, travel & tourism company, is specialized in boat rental and charter, collaborative consumption, marine industry, travel, and adventure. It has partnered with GEICO and BoatUS to design an exclusive Peer-to-Peer Boat Rental Policy, inspiring boat owners’ engagement and encouraging entrepreneurship on the water. It helps to review the booking requests and inquiries from renters, manage all their bookings on the website or the application, and the payouts, which are processed quickly and connected to their bank account directly.
10. Norse Atlantic Airways
Norse Atlantic Airways offers affordable transatlantic flights with environment-friendly and comfortable Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft. It offers affordable fares to destinations and service on board modern and fuel-efficient Dreamliners for corporate and personal travel. It strengthens the employer-employee relationship and has entered into collective bargaining agreements with cabin crew and pilot unions in the U.S., U.K. and Norway. It incorporates a low-cost business model and approach for the cost-efficient airline without prior financial restraints.
InsureMyTrip, an online travel insurance comparison site, serves customers worldwide with its licensed customer services. Its unique customer advocacy program provides assistance throughout the travel journey. It provides recommendations of best plans per the trip details and the best travel insurance plan that matches the traveler’s need, irrespective of the commission or company, with a money-back guarantee. In addition, its licensed representatives, Anytime Advocates, help with the insurance claim process.
12. Sonder Inc.
Sonder Inc., a hospitality company, provides a seamless business travel management experience through technology and innovation. It offers a variety of accommodation options, from rooms to suites and apartments. Its application empowers guests with self-service features and 24/7 support. Without any formality, it offers simple self-check-in to boutique bathroom amenities.
13. Operto Guest Technologies
Operto Guest Technologies, a hospitality automation and IoT operating system for vacation rentals, hotels, and serviced apartments, is revolutionizing hospitality management. It provides personalized stays, contactless check-in, guest satisfaction, operational efficiency and more revenue opportunity through technology that connects teams, guests, managers, smart devices and ancillary third-party service providers. With purpose-built software and smart IoT devices, it offers property managers unique real-time visibility and control. Its automation features include integrated keyless entry, energy savings, noise and occupancy monitoring, and personalized in-suite technology.
14. Life House
Life House is a vertically integrated hotel software, brand, and management company. It provides operational expertise to build robust software to enhance profitability and operational ease in independent hotels. It specializes in hotel software development, financial reporting, interior design, product management and operations, hotel management, and enterprise SaaS.
15. PCH Hotels and Resorts
PCH Hotels and Resorts is a franchised management company with Marriott. Beginning with the acquisition of the Grand Hotel Resort & Spa, PCH has grown to become the top hospitality employer in Alabama. Currently, PCH manages four Renaissance Marriott resort properties, three Marriott resort properties, one Autograph Collection resort, one select service IHG property, and one Outlet Shop. Each property is minutes from the extensive world-class Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail.
Spotnana powers unparalleled global travel experiences. It modernizes the travel industry's infrastructure to bring travelers freedom, simplicity, and trust everywhere. Its travel-as-a-service platform makes travel simpler and affordable for corporations. It's our ecosystem of agency, supplier, and technology provider partners to increase operational efficiency, new revenue opportunities, and innovation.
GetYourGuide is a travel bookingplatform connecting travel enthusiasts, experts, and technologists with people. It helps in discovering the destination’s best activities and attractions. In addition, it simplifies the digital travel reality by offering data-driven insights, technology, and market expertise through its destination management company database.
VTrips offers services for vacation rental property management, guest management with dedicated property managers and best advertising and marketing approach. It is the premier property management company serving in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Maryland, New Mexico, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas. It also provides vacation rental guest experiences through its quality management and personalized services for real estate and corporate travel.
Trip.com specializes in OTA, flight tickets, hotel booking, train tickets, and internet services. It has an extensive hotel network for a diverse choice of accommodation. Its flight network has over 2 million individual flight routes connecting more than 5,000 cities around the globe. It combines 24/7 English customer service and various travel products necessary for a successful trip.
20. Deem, Inc.
Deem, Inc., a corporate travel booking software, helps in policy adherence, better travel decisions, employee engagement, and cost control through secure solutions. It allows travel managers to customize their travel programs. It integrates into travel and expense management companies & travel agencies with powerful APIs and design.
21. Mondee Holdings, Inc.
Mondee Holdings, Inc is a group of travel technology, service, and content companies driving innovation in the leisure, corporate, and retail travel markets. It delivers a revolutionary technology platform of SaaS, mobile, and cloud products and services to a global customer base. Major corporations, SMBs, travel agencies, and new gig economy workers use its easy-to-use technology platforms to access global travel content, services, and products. Corporations like Rocketrip and TripPlanet trust it for cost-saving, employee safety, and sustainable future.
Priceline, a part of Booking Holdings, Inc., provides the best deals for hotel rooms, flights, rental cars, vacation packages and cruises. It specializes in online travel services and ecommerce through its internet publishing platform. It uses cloud computing to provide personalized and alternative recommendations for travel.
Egencia, an American Express Global Business Travel Company, is a B2B travel tech platform. As part of the valuable marketplace in business travel, it provides data insights and AI-driven innovation that power the travel programs of 9000+ companies in more than 60 countries. It specializes in online business travel booking, purchasing, technology, travel management, corporate travel management, and travel app.
24. Forbes Travel Guide
Forbes Travel Guide renders hotel, restaurant, and spa reviews, travel advice, learning tools, service training, guest experience, and customer services. Its star rating standards reflect the industry's highest levels of service and facility measurement worldwide. With experience in the industry, it provides more reliable information about the travel recommendations and booking.
ADTRAV provides technology solutions for business travel management of corporations, government agencies, and non-profit organizations. Through the help of federal contractors, it maintains compliance with federal travel regulations and fulfills the audit requirements of the DCAA with its government travel expertise.
Collaboration with travel management companies has many advantages, like expense management, business travel support, enhanced networking, making informed decisions, being more organized, and expertise in the field. However, business travel must integrate with the companies according to their budgets and requirements. The travel companies must keep aside the stress of planning, booking & tracking the travel vendors for employees' business travel and rely on TMCs for a cost-effective and comfortable corporate travel experience.