Can you easily consolidate your corporate travel data? For most companies, the answer is “no.” In order to manage your travel data, you must know your travel volume, your preferred supplier rates, the ratio of travel compliance within your company and many other elements. It is simply not easy to control your corporate travel data if you do not have the right information at your fingertips.
As CFO, you know that if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. Corporate travel can be complex and difficult to oversee without the right processes and tools. Fortunately, there are new tools that can aggregate your travel data into easily digestible reports to help guide and measure your travel policy and procedures.
With a rules-based booking program, like Concur Travel, you can manage your corporate travel data with set parameters that align with your business requirements. When you have visibility into your travel data, you are in a better position to control overall program costs. It requires a powerful solution to manage the wide variety of travel options, and these three tips should help streamline the process:
1. Simplify the Booking ProcessCreate traveler profiles by using an automated travel and expense reporting system. Traveler data only needs to be entered into the online booking tool one time to create an online profile. Once saved, travelers’ personal, company and credit card information is retained securely online for future bookings. Any further travel arrangements (such as carrier, hotel and car rentals) use the profile data, alongside preset permissions and spending thresholds, eliminating the need to re-enter information. In addition to saving time, online booking systems take advantage of traveler profiles to makes business trips safer and more convenient. Some of these amenities, include:
- E-Receipt Activation – Automatically receive electronic receipts from participating vendors. No more stuffing paper receipts in pockets, briefcases, computer bags or other places where they are easily lost or misplaced. Re-imbursement for travelers is quick and efficient.
- Travel Vacation Reassignment – Assign a backup travel manager during your trip.
- Set Up Travel Preferences – Carrier, hotel, rental car and other travel-related preferences are saved and recorded.
- Mobile Registration – Access booking tools from Concur, Deem and GetThere on your mobile device for convenient access.
- Add Passport Information – Speed up international travel by including passport information in your reservation.
2. Improve Control
With the help of an online, rules-based booking tool, companies can gain control over their travel program. Corporations can set variables, operators and thresholds and construct policy rules that travelers must adhere to when booking. Administrators can define how the system should respond when travelers violate policy, giving businesses more control to drive traveler policy compliance and reduce T&E overspending. Some key features of online booking systems include:
- Reduced Rates – Negotiated and improved rates for carrier, hotel and car rentals based on your company and also TMC’s preferred supplier relationships.
- Early Evaluation – Corporate travelers are alerted early in the booking process if they are out of policy.
- Set Thresholds – You can set limits on cost, fare type and distance. You can also set the maximum cost allowed over the lowest logical fare and stay within policy thresholds.
- Class of Service Rule – Corporate travelers can be flagged as out-of-policy for booking first, business and/ or premium economy.
- Specific Airline Rule – Only certain airlines may be booked.
3. Evaluate Your Payment Process
One way to improve travel data management is to evaluate the payment process on a regular basis. An automated and itegrated system offers many time-saving advantages for accounting and finance departments, including:
- Centralized Payments – When all travelers use the same online system to book travel components, the T&E reconciliation process is greatly improved. For example, travelers can enter the same corporate credit card in their traveler profiles. You can even prepay some expenses with virtual payment cards which have the additional advantage of increased security.
- Centralized T&E Data - Travel booked through Concur or other automated online booking tools, stores information by category (airfare, hotel, car, and meals). TMCs can help create improved processes for collecting expense and credit data so you are able to see the big picture of your T&E expenses.
- Improved Reporting – When data is stored in the same system, you can create on-demand reports on those areas you want to review. Some popular client reports include the "Air Activity" and "Transaction Analysis" reports. In addition to self-generated reports, reports can be created to run automatically on a recurring schedule. You can even have them broadcast to the appropriate party to provide details on total purchases, purchase trends, and spending. Once you learn to run one report, generating and reviewing others – both customized and broadcast – becomes positive habit forming..
For many companies, travel is a vital part of building a successful business. Unfortunately, it remains one of the most complex areas to oversee. With the help of an experienced TMC and the right processes and tools, travel data no longer has to get lost in backlogs and databases or under hidden piles of paper receipts.
An online booking tool and expense management tool, such as Concur Travel & Expense, can simplify the booking and payment processes and provide CFOs with instant travel data vis-à-vis robust and on-demand reporting systems. In addition, integrated travel and expense tools can be used to develop and force policies and procedures to maximize your travel budget while improving control and efficiency.
Is it time to update your travel policy to include a rules-based booking program like Concur? Find out more when you download the 5 Key Strategies for CFOs to Take Control of Travel and Expense Management.