Business travel is a major expense for most companies. Despite a year-long standstill in corporate travel due to Covid-19, the travel sector is making a steady comeback.
By 2022, there would be approximately 499.4 million business trips in the United States alone.
To cut down on business travel cost and hassle, companies are turning towards automated business travel management solutions.
Automating your business travel has a host of benefits. It is a complete solution for increased productivity, hassle-free management, reducing costs, and saving time. No wonder the number of businesses interested in automated travel management is at an all-time high.
Automating business travel is not a very complicated process. On the contrary, it relieves you of time-consuming email threads and risks of miscommunication. Automated business travel management is all set to be a future norm.
5 Tips to automate your business travel in 2021
Bringing automation to your business travels need not be difficult. When choosing a travel management solution, you need to keep many things in mind. Fret not, because we are here with five tips to automate your business travel in 2021. After going through our guide, you will be better equipped to understand different aspects of automating business travel.
1. Ensure 24/7 support
Travel times vary depending on numerous factors. Be it different time zones, missed flights, last-minute rescheduling, or something else, problems can come up at any time. What you need in such cases is 24/7 support from your business travel provider.
The benefit of automating business travel is an easy resolution of these problems. Since most, if not all, processes are automated, there is an efficient alert system in place to indicate when something is wrong. However, there should also be efficient human minds behind the customer support team.
Having a strong support team round the clock ensures that your other important projects do not face obstruction. You can focus on all important tasks without worrying about a last-minute missed flight of an employee. On top of that, a dedicated team ensures fast and easy operation.
If problems come up on holidays or weekends, there is an added problem of not having staff members in the office to resolve them. With a dedicated team, you can be sure of resolving any problem at any moment. You would not realize its importance unless facing a similar situation.
Every corporate travel management provider must have a strong network of support staff working 24/7. It is one of those key attributes that must be taken note of. The perils of not having round-the-clock support can be very severe. It can even lead to a significant amount of financial loss over the years. A support team not only makes travel safe and easy but also saves you money.
If your business travel management firm does not provide good support services, the automation process would be left incomplete. 24/7 support is a pillar of automated business travel.
2. Choose a consolidated platform
Cluttered and complicated communication channels are no longer functional in 2021. If you are still using emails as your primary communication channel, you are making the process needlessly resource intensive.
Even for a simple flight ticket booking, a manual travel management platform would entail multiple emails back and forth. Locating specific information from a cluttered inbox is a very painful and time-consuming work. You can easily bypass these complex channels by automating your corporate travel management.
When your corporate travel management system is consolidated, you easily get all relevant information in one place. You can see upcoming and past bookings, all reschedulings, information about travelers, and even a consolidated report of all expenses.
Expense tracking is among the most useful features of automated travel management.
In the absence of automated business travel management, someone would have to manually track each and every expense. It can become very complicated considering the different minor expenses involved in traveling. In case of unforeseen accidents, keeping track of every expense can be very painstaking.
If you have different employees traveling to different places, you would often need to coordinate their travel dates to match important meetings or events.
With automated travel management, you can check, review, and track all information about every traveler in your company. It will make coordination extremely easy and fast. When choosing a travel management solution, make sure you get a consolidated platform with all the necessary information.
3. Set up policies for faster operations
If you are not setting up travel policies, you are making an obvious mistake in automating business travels.
Travel policies in business travel automation mean setting up a framework for employees to follow while traveling.
Once the framework is in place, users of the travel management platform would have the freedom to choose their travel plans within the framework.
For example, you can fix the class in which your employees would travel for certain purposes. If the demand of the purpose does not suit a business class ticket, the user would not be able to buy one. You can also set up an upper limit for flight ticket prices, hotel charges, the maximum number of days, and so on. Once you set these parameters, business travel automation tools will not let anyone bypass them.
Creating a travel policy is also complicated work. You need to take into account all the different scenarios that can emerge in the course of a business trip. You would also have to make separate provisions for emergencies.
However, once the hard work of putting a framework in place is over, automated travel management platforms would do the work for you.
If you need help with developing a policy, go through the corporate travel management guide by TravelPerk. Being one of the best corporate travel management platforms, TravelPerk can help you with policy framing and implementation. Once you set up a comprehensive framework, automating business travel will become easier than ever.
4. Focus on reducing costs
The two primary reasons behind using automated business travel solutions are to save money and time. While automation is time-saving by design, many people have the misconception that it is more expensive than manual travel planning. People who feel this way do not understand how automation saves money in the long run and on a large scale.
There are many ways you can reduce costs through automation. As we mentioned earlier, you can put a price cap in your policies. By keeping detailed track of every travel expense, you would automatically save a lot of money.
Another way you save money with automation is by replacing human tasks with machines. If you have a separate team looking after every detail of your company’s business management, you would have to allocate funds to pay them.
Considering how resource-intensive the work is, it is almost always more expensive to pay an in-house team than an external entity.
Automation also makes your team productive in a rather roundabout manner. Your employees would perform better even in fields not related to business travel since the workload would not trickle down to other departments.
When there is a disruption in travel businesses, it often takes days to resolve. All these seemingly trivial disturbances have a big impact on your team’s overall performance.
Automation saves you money in both obvious and obscure ways.
5. Analyze your performance
A great benefit of having a detailed record of all expenses is the ability to understand your Return on Investment (ROI) on business travel expenses.
When an employee is going on a corporate trip for a project, the company is investing a certain amount in them in hopes that the deal will materialize. However, that is not always the case. With automated expense tracking, you can understand how much you are spending and earning in business travels.
Business travel expenses can go very high if left unchecked. Fortunately, automating business travel management makes it impossible to exceed the preset expense cap. In case your travel expenses are higher than expected, you would have a detailed report of where the money went.
With the data of ROI on business travels, you can chart out a plan for your future business trips. You can identify patterns to locate issues that are causing unsuccessful business trips. Consequently, you can alter your travel policies to address these issues.
To put it simply, automating business management allows you to understand what you are getting from your business travel expenses.
Automating business travel management will have a positive impact on your business for various reasons.
Considering how much it increases overall production and performance, it would be unwise to not adopt the technology at the earliest. The earlier you start with it, the better for you in the long run.
Business travel is a crucial component of any business, and having a well-rounded solution for all corporate travel requirements will make life easier for you.
Forget long email threads, back and forth phone calls, and last-minute missed flights with automated business travel management.
Atreyee Chowdhury works full-time as a Content Manager with a Fortune 1 retail giant.
Are you looking to scale your content needs fast? You can reach her at email@example.com for any content writing/copywriting requirements. She is passionate about writing and helped many small and medium-scale businesses achieve their content marketing goals with her compelling content. She loves to read, travel, and experiment with different cuisines in her free time.