Rising demand for business travel paired with fluid economic conditions over the last several months has many people who manage travel, corporate card, and expense programs in a unique situation: juggling how to reduce costs without curbing travel.
In the past, the only pathway to generating program savings was to cut travel. But now—thanks to intelligent, digital solutions—program managers have a raft of tools available for natively driving program savings and cutting spend without throttling the speed of the sales (or engineering, or product) teams.
Driving program savings all starts with spend visibility. Today companies do this by focusing on product adoption, or the ratio of users enrolled in a system to those who actually use that system. Traditionally, corporate travel programs suffer from low adoption due to lackluster experience with search, booking, itinerary management, and expense processes. But TripActions changed that calculus by creating a user-friendly search and itinerary management interface that feels like a consumer experience.
Technology also provides a boost to the adoption of card and expense management tools built into the TripActions Liquid software stack. Since this solution can automatically approve and reconcile expenses within policy, end users immediately see gains in efficiency and adoption goes up.
With greater adoption, managing and deploying policy can produce desired results rather than acting as a barrier for employees to circumvent. Beyond the traditional framework of defining spend limits to set policy, a modern tool can do even more to drive cost savings without sacrificing travel or the traveler’s experience.
TripActions employs a unique framework called dynamic policy that allows the spend limits for each traveler to slide up and down based on market conditions. In practical terms, this means that a $400 policy for booking a hotel in Chicago can slide down to $300 when the system sees that extra rooms are available at that price point.
Incentives, which can also be a feature of modern programs, also play a big role in hotel cost savings. With tools like the TripActions rewards program, travelers are incentivized to save the company money on hotel bookings. If a traveler chooses to stay in a $200 hotel when policy allows for $300 in spend, for example, they might earn a $30 reward on the $100 in savings. Initiatives like this save companies money in the short term and promote changes in user behavior for the long term.
All told, policy tools and incentive programs drive an average of 30% savings on typical hotel spend for a TripActions customer.
One major advantage of using the same solution for corporate travel, cards, and expense management is the visibility created across the entire journey, from an employee swiping a card to an accountant reconciling expenses on the company’s ledger.
With the right policy settings and technology stack in place, modern solutions can automatically recognize expenses and—if the company desires–automatically reimburse or reconcile them, effectively automating the process of reviewing and approving spend.
TripActions Liquid works in exactly this way. If an employee is on a business trip with a policy already in place, swiping the TripActions Liquid card automatically captures—and resolves—any spend. And if the traveler uses a personal card, the system captures the expense and automatically reimburses it.
Where the savings really bear fruit in this model is on the finance team’s side. Because every single expense doesn’t need to be reviewed, authorized, and reimbursed, finance teams save time and can focus on strategic initiatives.
Employees save time, too. Gone are the days of saving receipts and filing onerous expense reports; instead, the system automatically manages the spend. And if out-of-policy expenses surface, system administrators can program the policy to flag them for review or automatically decline those transactions.
Thanks to the ease of use of TripActions Liquid, customers report an average 86% reduction in out-of-policy spend and up to 15% savings on a full travel and expense program. Over three years, Forrester calculates the ROI for the average mid-sized company to be 153% with 13.6 hours saved (between traveler and finance leader) per trip.
Using a TripActions Liquid card generates cost savings directly through its technology stack. Every transaction swiped on a virtual or physical TripActions Liquid card earns up to 2% cashback.
That 2% adds up quickly: If the average road warrior travels twice a month and spends $2,500 per trip, they’ll earn $1,000+ in rebates annually.
Another big advantage of working with a corporate travel solution is access to discounted rates. TripActions has negotiated a wide spectrum of rates with airfare, hotel, car, and rail providers that are loaded onto the TripActions platform and ready for companies to leverage.
The TripActions Corporate Lodging Collection provides an additional tier of negotiated rates and discounts available only to customers, many of which have added amenities such as access to free parking, wifi, breakfast, or coffee. Over time, these savings stack up and keep company expenses down.
Even without any negotiated rates in play, the inventory approach taken by TripActions intrinsically drives cost savings. Because the content is unbiased—or hotels and flights that yield higher margins for TripActions aren’t surfaced earlier in the search—travelers get better search results that are in line with their preferences and intentions rather than more profitable to the supplier.
Clients using the TripActions solution for travel, corporate cards, and expense have a battery of tools available to help keep costs in check. And as inflation drives increased scrutiny around employee travel or spend, program managers can employ any of these tools to show how they can keep costs in check without curbing travel.
Proactive travel managers can approach inflation head-on and take tacit steps to adjust a program. To get started, download the Inflation-Fighting Checklists for Travel and Finance Managers, which has useful tips, tools, and strategies that will come in handy no matter what the financial climate.