The MacNair Travel Leadership Blog

Upgrade Your Managed Travel Program- Core Technology & Data Reporting

Posted by Mike MacNair on Apr 19, 2016 12:00:00 PM

Upgrade Your Managed Travel Program- Core Technology & Data ReportingIf you manage your company’s travel program, it pays to make it as efficient as possible. After all, it’s not easy balancing cost savings with travel compliance and keeping your employees happy. You need good data reporting and the ability to take advantage of core technology to truly streamline the process.

For example, some core technology offers traveler profile tools to save preferences which helps make booking more efficient. Online booking tools like Concur and GetThere can customize your options like suppliers, discounts, and thresholds which means they can even enforce your travel policy when well-integrated with the right technology.

Depending on your company culture, you can balance self-sufficiency -- direct online booking -- with the needs of those who want to book with assistance. Expense reporting technology can help your employees track their expenses in real time and make reimbursement a breeze.

Yet, there are so many options in core technology, how do you decide which is the best for your organization? Take Global Distribution Systems (GDS), there are three major ones plus others. Each have different strengths. For example, Sabre consistently beats the competition in low fare searches yet Amadeus offers more airlines for international travel.

It’s clear you have to think through the options that meet the needs of your organization.

Like any technology search, there are pros and cons. Your TMC should be well versed in the various options and be able to help you navigate the core technologies to help you find the best fit.

Travel Data Reporting Is Essential for Any Travel Manager

As a travel manager, there are times you need standard reports and times when you require customization. The advanced travel data reporting tools give you analytics and benchmarks to review trend analysis, relevance to peer groups and provide an overall snapshot of the effectiveness of programs so you can make strong recommendations.

However, it can be tough to choose the right data reporting tool. A few considerations include ease of use, hardware and software costs and the type of data you need. Whenever possible, talk with other companies of similar size about their experience with a particular type of reporting tool. Find out if it meets their needs and if they recommend it.

Today’s Technology Makes Expense Reporting Easy

There is no reason to deal with inter-office mail, manual data entry and lost receipts when you have automated expense reporting. In fact, many companies realize this is one of the quickest returns on investment when they begin reviewing travel technology.

It makes sense. If you can feed booking and corporate card data into expense reports, track the routing, approvals and workflow and reimburse travelers via automatic funds transfer, it streamlines the process. Ideally, you’re able to capture booking and credit card data and download it into pre-populated expense reports that update in real time and can be easily forwarded to a manager too.

A good expense reporting tool provides the company more control over costs like dining and entertainment, while making it easy for travelers to accurately complete expense reports and get reimbursed quicker.

Core technologies, like online booking tools and easy-to-use data and expense reports, can result in significant savings and higher productivity for your organization. This is especially true when they have good mobile versions to support your road warriors.

Without staying current with technology and data reporting, you’re missing out on major improvements in your travel program and with a little upfront planning, you can save hundreds of hours per year. A TMC can help you wade through the 13+ core technologies available and help you determine which best meet the needs of your organization and how to implement them.

What element of your travel program would you most like to streamline? Download the Technology Guide for Travel Management Programs to discover the 15+ core technologies that can help your travel program be more efficient.

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Topics: technology