BUSINESS TRAVEL

Top 5 Ways Travel and Expense Management Solutions Can Help Companies

ANUSREE BHATTACHARYA | December 23, 2020

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A recent study stated that the travel industry faced an estimated $519 billion loss in 2020 due to the pandemic. Some of the challenges that most companies came across are managing travel expenses, maintaining travel and expense process flow, using the right expense management solutions, and more. As the travel industry is getting back in business, it is overcoming challenges sturdily.

To simplify travel and expenses process flow, managers need instant and effective travel and expense management solutions to organize travel plans, submit expense reports, and control overspending on their travels. Before you dive into details about solutions that can improve the travel and expenses process flow and logistics of your company, here is a brief about travel and expense management solutions.
 

An Overview: Travel and Expense Management Solutions

Travel and expense management solutions are only relevant businesses that need to control the travel-related expenses of their employees. These solutions help you in understating the integrated spend data and deliver a better user experience. Other than this, these solutions can also help with:
  • Making clearer and smarter data-driven decisions

  • Encouraging policy compliance automatically into travel and expense process flow
  • Saving time to collect data from expense reports automatically
  • Simplifying budgeting
  • Forecasting a more accurate data of the spend


How Can You Streamline Your Travel and Expense Management Process?

Automated travel management software can help your employees and finance team use the travel and expense management solutions for their benefit. But how? Here are the reasons to support:
Employees could:
  • Effortlessly manage receipts and submits the details of corporate travel
  • Submit digital travel and expenses report instantly using a centralized travel and expense software
  • Maintain compliance with the existing reimbursement policy for corporate travel and expenses in your company

Finance teams could:
  • They can create transparency in corporate spending reports by using travel management software and its automatic function.

  • They can have better control over their travel expenses.

5 Ways Travel and Expense Management Solutions Can Help Companies

Travel and expense management solutions give all travel and expense management services easy access to align in one place. By doing this, you will be able to gain more control over services and enforce compliance. Here are five ways your business can effortlessly adopt new travel and expense management solutions and help you win challenges faced during the pandemic.


Review the Selected Solutions

Before you implement a travel and expense management system, it is vital to review preferred travel and expense management solutions that your business requires. This will help the travel expenses workflow align seamlessly and make employees understand what it takes to manage the entire travel expense scenario accurately.

Conduct Surveys

If you are going to switch the old travel expenses method and adapting advanced travel and expense management solutions, it is crucial to survey the users who have used the solution and know its performance. This survey will help your employees to know if the chosen travel management software suits your requirements. The next step is to keep an eye on the most frequent and critical users, which will help you to have a clear insight into new trends that are being followed in terms of managing the workflow efficiently. By this, you can also implement it in your company. It also helps identify where your process needs refinement to facilitate efficiency in the expense management system.
 

Prioritize the Must-haves

The next step should include the collected input from the survey for setting up the foundation of priority of needs. In this case, creating a checklist is an ideal option. Prioritizing the best travel management software with apt travel and expense management solutions according to your workflow can help you select the right travel expense software for your organization.

You can select travel and expense management solutions that consist of:

  • Report building automation
  • Auto fill options
  • Remote access
  • User-friendly interface
  • Helpful support
  • Mobile functionality
  • Quick international payment


Introduce Demo Sessions

If you use an advanced global travel and expense management system, it is recommended to provide demo sessions of the preferred travel and expense management solutions to your team. The demo sessions could be an opportunity for your team to witness travel and expense management services created from reputable travel management software in action. With this, you can know about a host of details about the implementation of travel expense software, integrations, user training, travel and expense process, and its flow. This contributes towards the successful adoption of a travel expense system and proves the abilities of the travel and expense management solutions selected by you to scale your business as it grows.


Choose a Solution

Once you have organized multiple demo sessions of various global travel and expense management solutions, it's time to choose the best travel expenses management software that fits your company's culture and requirements. Take a good look at the pros and cons of the final travel expense planner you consider for integrated expense management solutions to combat your existing challenges. Being cautious while choosing the right global travel and expense management solutions will benefit your employees, and they will be able to use it for the company's advantage at a much faster pace.
 

Frequently Asked Questions

What you should know about expense management software?

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. 


How to manage travel expenses?

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


Why use an expense management software?

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.


What are the most crucial features to manage expenses?

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

Spotlight

Michelin Food & Travel (Michelin Travel Partner)

Gastronomy, Travel and Mobility are the three dimensions of Michelin Travel Partner’s area of expertise. Our purpose is obvious: to accompany clients before, during and after their journey by offering them unique experiences around mobility. The MICHELIN guide is THE world reference for gastronomic guides. For more than 100 years, it has selected the best restaurants and hotels in the 28 countries where it is present. Thousands of destinations around the world, travel sites, restaurants, hotels, practical information to organize your trip are recommended in The Green Guide, the most used guide in France, and the Michelin Travel website. The Michelin maps, that have been created over a century, and the ViaMichelin website allow you to find the best route, check the traffic in real time, check the weather and book a hotel: 1 MICHELIN map is sold every 6 seconds in the world.

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5 Reasons the BMW Performance Center West is a Business Itinerary Imperative

Article | August 26, 2020

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With stay at home orders having been lifted, getting behind the wheel of a new BMW at the BMW Performance Center West is a “bucket list” excursion sure to leave you longing for more.

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Post-Pandemic Travel Planning: Planes, Trains & Automobiles

Article | January 21, 2021

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Top 9 Opportunities in the Travel Industry to Enter in 2021

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. Personalization 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 Systems 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. 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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Africa Travel Do’s & Don’ts Amid COVID-19

Article | September 10, 2020

As COVID-19 wreaks havoc across the globe, tourism-dependent regions are suffering exponentially. The continent of Africa is one glaring example, with South Africa propelled into the global top 10 for coronavirus infections, reportedly now surpassing the United Kingdom in cases. For its part, the tourism and industrial sectors in North Africa will likely be hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the African Development Bank’s 2020 edition North Africa Economic Outlook report. Even as Africa contends with pandemic concerns, there are still throngs of travelers who are keen to visit the region in the near future. Many are doing diligence to discern if, when and how to go about scheduling a trip to this tourism hotspot. To help spotlight some top-line issues, I turned to entrepreneur and philanthropist Jay Cameron, Executive Director of Maximum Impact Travel. As one of the leading global experts on Africa travel and commerce, Cameron’s insights are invaluable as travelers deal with this tumultuous situation, helping ensure they plan smartly in the post-pandemic era. MK: What are the key do’s and don’ts when traveling to Africa amid COVID-19? JC: Surprisingly, some African countries have escaped the devastating impacts COVID-19 has caused globally. While other countries around the world have experienced often overwhelming consequences as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, much of Africa appears to have been spared. Even so, the statistics do not suggest the citizens of the countries of Africa have not felt its impact. The fact is, many countries in Africa are seeing regular increases in the numbers of those infected by the novel coronavirus, while much of the world is experiencing a decline in infections. Around the world, experts warn outbreaks of COVID-19 in Africa may continue, resulting in a higher rate of deaths due to the limited local health services available. With coronavirus worries come fears of potential famine due to the virus threat, in combination with existing drought conditions and ongoing conflicts. With this in mind, should you intend to travel to the continent now, or post-COVID-19, you should be prepared. Some good preparedness ideas include researching virus statistics in the country you wish to visit that, for one, you can review at AfricaNews.com. It is also advisable to learn if said country has any travel restrictions, which is information that is accessible online via at CDC.gov. Of course, maintaining a healthy lifestyle to boost immunity before and during your visit is also key. MK: Should travelers be ready to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test result, either before departing or upon arrival? JC: African countries are now opening for foreign travelers, but this does not indicate the belief that they have won the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. Most African countries are still battling with COVID-19 outbreaks, as the number of infected cases continues to rise daily in nearly every African country. To this end, stringent efforts are in place to ensure individuals arriving on the continent and entering various countries are free of the virus. With this in mind, you should be prepared to present proof of negative COVID-19 status before entering the country to which you are traveling. This measure is being implemented around the globe and the countries of Africa are no exception. In the same vein, departing any African country will require the same proof of negative COVID-19 status. Both mandates are in place to protect your fellow travelers on the flight as well as the residents of the country to which you are traveling. As things ebb and flow, you can check the status of this mandate online at AfricaTravelInc.com. MK: What would you suggest about localized regulations? JC: Travelers must research the localized regulations and requirements with respect to hotel and resorts, airports, ground transportation, public spaces and such for both their own country and their destination.. It is necessary that you understand departure rules from your country of origin, and even more important that you understand your destination country’s prevailing laws for foreign travelers regarding COVID-19. Some African countries like Tanzania and Zambia, for example, have mandated the use of face masks in public places with punishment for the contravention of such laws. Some hotels and resorts also have taken stringent measures and issued their own strict requirements for travelers arriving from foreign countries. For example, at this time, hotel bars in Rwanda are closed but the hotels themselves remain open. Researching and understanding these laws before traveling enables you to stay safe during your visit and steer clear of legal issues with the local authorities. A helpful resource for staying up-to-date on laws that might affect travel to Africa can be found at Travel.State.gov. MK: What about the airlines, specifically? JC: Investigate the requirements for your airline as each carrier has varied responses to COVID-19. As a result of the pandemic, most airlines have adopted measures to keep their passengers and their staff safe. While some airlines like Delta require proof of a negative COVID-19 test before boarding your flight, others provide testing before your flight and attach the result to your ticket. Therefore, to ensure you are able to fly when scheduled, it is your responsibility to know the requirements of your airline before the flight to avoid any issues. A good resource for this is Go2Africa.com. MK: Should tourists be prepared for temperature screenings and COVID-19 tests upon arrival and departure? JC: As pointed out earlier, many African countries are still battling the pandemic, so to keep the residents of their countries safe post-COVID-19, airports have been mandated to request test results or test passengers on-site. Therefore, when traveling, you should be prepared for a coronavirus test upon arrival or departure from any African country. If you refuse to allow this, you will not be able to fly. MK: What about a potential 14-day quarantine upon arrival—is that only for travelers who show signs of COVID-19? JC: Apart from testing, be prepared for a 14-day quarantine if you show signs of the virus or test positive during a test given at the airport. African countries are determined to ensure the pandemic is eliminated completely from their countries. If you show symptoms of the virus upon your arrival in any country in Africa, you will likely be quarantined for 14 days. This can even entail having to stay in the country instead of returning to the U.S. MK: Would you say that travel insurance is an imperative? JC: Make sure your travel insurance company offers COVID-19 coverage and arrange for COVID-19 travel insurance requirements from airlines. You will want to be insured by your travel insurance company for COVID-19 coverage before traveling to any African country. Check with your travel insurance company to ensure COVID-19 is covered under their insurance policy, in the event you need to change your travel plans due to the pandemic. Such coverage policy can protect you by covering expenses related to unexpected changes and/or medical care in the event of illness. MK: With any trip, but especially now, there can be unforeseen circumstances. Any insights on that front? JC: DO NOT travel without extra funds and the ability to extend your trip in the event of a quarantine. With the points mentioned above, there is a great likelihood you will be required to spend more time and money in the country to which you are traveling if your COVID-19 test is positive. As a result, it is advisable to travel only if you are prepared with time and financial contingency plans. However, African countries are not barring U.S. travelers at the same rate as other countries, meaning you can potentially realize your dream safari vacation or other adventure across the continent’s beaches, jungles and deserts. As the world contends with COVID-19 issues, African countries will endeavor to stay open for tourism, business and much more. Preparing for, and abiding by, the region’s travel requirements will make your journey and overall stay in the country more enjoyable and safer for all.

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