The MacNair Travel Leadership Blog

Travel Management Software: The Key to Travel Program Optimization

Posted by Mike MacNair on Apr 26, 2016 12:00:00 PM

Travel Management Software: The Key to Travel Program OptimizationAccording to market research firm Ruigrok | NetPanel, the estimated cost of unclaimed expenses every year by U.S. employees could be as much as $9.7 billion. Much of that is due to missed reimbursement deadlines and lost receipts. To be exact, the researchers found that in the U.S., American workers average a loss of $390/year apiece due to business travel for their employer.

In fact, according to Diginomica, 42% of professionals think their expense claims system takes advantage of them, which leads to an environment of negativity and disengagement in the workplace.

It’s no surprise then that this can lead to employee turnover. And yet, the technology exists to make it easier than ever to track expenses and get reimbursed faster. In fact, companies who implement effective travel management software find that it improves employee productivity and strengthens relationships with velocity travelers, as it reduces inefficiencies, such as manually reconciling expense reports.

Additionally, companies that establish a centralized billing program with a company credit card are able to gain control and efficiency over travel expenses and help your employees be reimbursed within days and not weeks. With some systems, your organization can go ahead and pre pay some of the expenses so your employees have fewer out-of-pocket expenses, which make them happier.

That’s just one example of how travel software can improve relations.

You’ve probably heard of “Big Data” and how it’s being used to for everything, from highly targeted advertising to pattern recognition in keystrokes. Here’s how it can help streamline your travel program.

Smart Travel Software Uses Big Data and Automated Expense Reports to Make it Easy

There’s a lot of talk about Big Data - the massive amounts of data generated daily through web searches, email, social media, debit and credit card use, and other digital evidence of our habits. There are many new software applications harnessing that data to simplify business travel.

For example, Predictive Analytics is one component of Big Data that uses past behaviors to predict future behaviors. It has a tremendous potential in the travel sector, as it improves personalization for your travelers and can even forecast what your traveler needs. Instead of showing a dozen flight options, it narrows it down to the one or two flights that best meets your employees’ business objectives and allows them to comply with the travel policy. It can rate fitness centers, let you know when the hotel rooms were last updated and find top restaurants in the area.

It’s the aim of travel management software to render formerly onerous processes obsolete. For example, “manual data entry and inefficient processes” are highly ranked as major challenges in a report issued by Paystream Advisors.

Yet, smart use of today’s travel software makes these concerns a thing of the past. These tools can save individual travel profiles, use pre paid credit cards and automated expense reports that update in real time, as the traveler incurs expenses. These save the traveler booking time, out of pocket expenses and/or the need to deal with missed reimbursement deadlines and the agony of the lost receipt.

“Advances in digital systems that combine mobile tech, user interface, e-communications, social media, pattern recognition, machine learning, and the Internet of Things can transform the entire process. Add intelligent software to the mix and this onerous, time-consuming, necessary task gets done- not just better, but almost by itself. Self-driving software automatically collects the data and provides the report.” (Source)

T&E Software can improve the moods (and productivity) of your busy travelers by eliminating much of the “busy work” that has plagued business travel for decades. This allows them to focus on more important matters - like the reason they’re traveling in the first place.

For some clients, we’ve implemented an online travel tool fully customized with their travel policies and procedures - with some of these tools you can choose preferred vendors and set spending thresholds so it’s easier for your employees to comply with travel policies too.

TMC’s can help you determine the right travel management software for your company. Whether it’s how to incorporate Uber into your policies or the best way to manage virtual payment cards. Technology is changing fast and companies that take advantage of these changes will have happier, more engaged velocity travelers. 

What’s your biggest challenge with your high volume travelers? Download our technology guide today to find out how you can incorporate smart travel software and improve morale with your velocity travelers.

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Topics: Travel Management, technology, TMc