Developing and executing a travel program that supports your business travelers as well as supports your business objectives can be a bit like walking a tightrope.
You’re balancing convenience for your travelers, with risk reduction and cost savings among other concerns.
In order to have a highly functioning corporate travel payment strategy there are a few key elements you’ll want to have in place. From strong relationships with your preferred suppliers, to improved reporting procedures, there are multiple facets where your travel payment strategy impacts your bottom line.
Here are two important elements of your travel program that bear reviewing as they can have a significant impact on your bottom line.
Do Your Employees Use Preferred Suppliers?
When have you last spoken to your preferred airline, hotel or car rental service? If it’s been a few years, it’s well worth a review. Airline fees have changed drastically over the years and with the appearance of car services like Uber and Lyft, you may find you can negotiate a better rate with each of your vendors.
Of course, it’s important that you compile the data of what your company currently pays and how frequently these vendors are used. It’s also a good idea to find out the rates that similar size companies are paying. (A TMC can help you with this.) This will give you important insight and a stronger position for leverage.
While you’re gathering this data, you’ll discover if, when and why your travel team goes outside of the preferred vendors list. In some companies, rogue travelers, can put a serious dent in your T&E budget and they may not even know they’re out of compliance.
It all comes back to having a clear travel policy that outlines pre-trip authorization procedures, who the preferred vendors are and why.
What Are Your Expense Reporting and Reimbursement Procedures?
Expense reporting and reimbursement reconciliation can impact your employee’s productivity and even morale.
You can make the process easier (and eliminate lost receipts) with virtual prepayment cards that prepay hotel rooms and airline fees. They act as a virtual check so there is no over or under payment. This helps bring your costs down. They also reduce fraud risk since they’re one-time-use only numbers.
Travel management technology like online expense reporting software lets employees track their receipts in real-time and they’re automatically forwarded to a manager. This is a tremendous time-saver in some organizations and can help your employees be reimbursed within days instead of weeks.
The way your employees book and pay for travel and who they use to meet their travel needs impacts your bottom line. It’s not uncommon for travel managers to be tasked with reducing T&E expenses yet, you need to have a clear idea of where you are now before you can set effective goals and objectives.
When you get granular with your processes and procedures and incorporate strategic travel management into your corporate travel policy, then it’s far easier to know how T&E truly impacts your bottom line.
Have you assessed your travel policy lately? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
Download your copy of the Travel Needs Assessment Checklist to see how your travel program can best support your business travelers and your company’s goals.