June 24, 2019

Why Every Business Needs to Think About Corporate Travel Services

Sometimes (okay, often), employees need to travel for work. But does your business need corporate travel services to help them (and you) manage those trips?

In a word — yes.

As we’re sure many of you know, business travel management can be far more difficult than many outside the field assume. There’s policies to set, cancelled flights to contend with, budgets to balance.. and that’s just the start.

What’s an overworked travel manager or EA, or frustrated road warrior, to do? Enter: Corporate travel services.

It’s important to recognize that what is meant by “travel services” has changed dramatically over the past few years. While some legacy services and solutions are certainly still around, there’s a new class of travel service that leverages modern technology to work smarter, faster, and more efficiently than ever before. With that in mind, let’s take a look at two specific benefits these new generation of travel services and solutions can offer today’s enterprise and their travelers:

Modern Travel Services and Solutions Help Employees Love Business Travel Even More

As a general rule, employees love to travel for work because they see it as an opportunity to help facilitate their company’s growth while earning miles and points for future personal travel. In fact, a growing portion of the workforce won’t even consider a job that doesn’t let them travel for work.

The above is at least true in theory — they definitely love the idea of business travel, but the reality? Maybe not so much. Employees are routinely so frustrated by complicated booking policies, restrictive options, unintuitive booking tools, and a lack of support on the road that they go rogue and book travel outside the company system entirely. In contrast, modern and more road warrior-friendly travel services and solutions include:

  • Personalized inventory: Travelers are accustomed to AI-powered consumer travel sites that instantly populate searches with a plethora of personalized booking options, and so are understandably frustrated by the inflexible options they often encounter when booking business travel. By leveraging artificial intelligence and machine learning, new travel services and solutions are able to generate personalized options within the parameters of company policies.
  • Consumer-like experiences: Business travelers accustomed to seamless and convenient travel experiences in their consumer lives can struggle with the friction and frustrations that often come with legacy corporate travel services and solutions. By delivering a simple, straight-forward business travel solution that meets the expectations set by consumer-facing services (simplifying everything from booking to itinerary changes, for instance, and not requiring employees to waste time trying to get in touch with a corporate travel agent when something goes awry when it should be proactive from the travel service), travelers are more likely to adopt and adhere to the company’s program.
  • Decreased booking time: Another benefit of quickly surfacing the most relevant options is a significant decrease in the time it takes to book a trip, from the flights and lodging to transport via rail and car. By kicking a search off with the results travelers are most likely to book, modern business travel services and solutions reduce the average booking time, in some cases from over an hour to under six minutes.
  • 24/7 365 proactive live human support: Unfortunately most travelers report feeling left on their own to deal with unexpected hiccups, such as missed connections, cancelled flights, or overbooked hotels. The best travel services and solutions offer much more than a customer support line, allowing travelers to also text or chat in-app with representatives. Even better, these tools can now proactively recognize and resolve issues — automatically rebooking a cancelled flight to the next best option, for example — without the traveler having to lift a finger.

Modern Business Travel Services Deliver More Visibility, More Control, and More Savings

The old way of thinking was pretty one-sided: Either business travelers were happy and the company was spending too much as a result, or the company was happy with (what they thought was) cost control, but travelers were miserable with a bad user experience and a lack of personalization and support.

But now, modern business travel services and solutions can delight travelers, and — because travelers are actually booking and managing travel through the organization’s preferred platform — deliver unprecedented visibility and control over spend to enterprises, their travel managers, and finance teams.

By encouraging more traveler adoption with a better overall user experience, today’s most effective travel services and solutions provide enterprises with:

  • Complete control and visibility into traveler spend and compliance: Creating, updating, and optimizing even the most sophisticated travel policy can be painless if your travel service and solution offers built-in dashboards fitted to the needs of your organization, making it easy to keep an eye on all traveler behavior right from your admin dashboard. A modern business travel solution can also ensure your company’s policy is clearly presented throughout the booking experience, so your travelers are always in the know about whether they’re adhering.
  • Reports that help control costs: 10% of a business’ total spend is spent on travel expenses, and keeping those costs under control means gaining visibility into your employees’ booking activity. To reign in spend and make smarter decisions around your program and policy, you don’t just need data, you need the right data. Modern travel services and solutions offer reporting that’s self-serve, real-time, and easy to understand and draw insights from.
  • Maximized savings: By pulling from a vast supply of inventory across both corporate and consumer channels, today’s travel services and solutions can offer instant access to exclusive airline, lodging, rail, and rental car rates. In addition, some also utilize traveler rewards that incentivize employees to spend company money as their own.
  • Policy that’s tailored to each unique booking: No two business trips are alike — costs vary according to when a trip booked or taken, where the traveler’s headed, and more. By implementing a dynamic policy that can take those factors into account, organizations can improve spend compliance and control by presenting booking policy based on real-time average costs for lodging and flights.

Ultimately, handing off the mechanics off your travel program to a trusted travel services partner so you can focus on the bigger picture is a smart way to decrease friction to improve the business traveler experience and encourage more growth and better spend management for your business.

See how TripActions’ unique corporate travel services and solution can help power your business by getting in touch with one of our travel experience experts.