Chapter 1:

How Can Organizations Adapt T&E Programs for the Modern Landscape?

Chapter 1:

How Can Organizations Adapt T&E Programs for the Modern Landscape?

Your People:

Acknowledge an Evolving Workforce

The workforce is changing and travel expectations are evolving. Five generations — Boomers, Generation X, Millennials, Generation Z, and even Generation Alpha — now work side-by-side. In an era that values personalization and experience, organizations need a corporate T&E program that accounts for their employees’ different backgrounds, behaviors, experiences and expectations.



The Workforce is Getting Younger

Millennials account for 50% of the global workforce today (KPMG report -2017), but Gen Zers will soon surpass them in size. In the USA, these new graduates account for more than a quarter of the population and represent the country’s most diverse generation.

Meet Your Workforce’s Expectations

Younger generations are accustomed to mobile-first services and expect travel to be just as accessible as the social, messaging, ride-sharing, and delivery tools they use daily. There’s an expectation that professional tools are as modern and intuitive as personal apps. Meeting employee expectations with innovative technology is an important factor in driving adoption, duty of care and cost savings.

The Need for Dynamic Policies

The traditional 9-to-5 work day and in-person approval flow don’t account for the professional lives or expectations of Millennials and Gen Zers. Millennials are the first generation to have a more integrative perspective when it comes to their lives -- and they need programs and policies that adapt to this new reality.

Managing corporate travel for Millennials and Gen Z business travelers will require different tools, a broader perspective, and the ability to personalize the booking process. A dynamic policy that accounts for different travel personas and trip context is needed.

Look After Your People

Taking good care of employees is critical to attracting and retaining talent.

Do you measure the impact of travel on your workforce?

Do you know the impact of business travel on their productivity and satisfaction?

The challenges we’re facing today have revealed the importance of prioritizing travelers’ well-being and mental health. A recent BTN Business Traveler Safety & Well-Being report suggested that only only 23% of travel managers have a comprehensive traveler safety and well-being program in place. Forward-thinking organizations understand that health and wellness is core to a successful corporate travel program.

Your Environment:

Consider External Factors

A progressive approach to T&E policy incorporates the environmental and external factors that motivate employees and move the business forward.

The Rise of Consumer Expectations

Every employee is a consumer who brings new standards and expectations to the corporate environment. This requires companies to adapt by integrating tools that offer:

  • AI-powered search filters that find the best option for each individual based on profile, preference, past booking behavior and company policy
  • Expert travel agents available when and how employees want to connect (via chat, email and phone)
  • Transparent, real-time payments and expenses
  • Purchases completed in a few clicks
  • Peer reviews and insight into customer satisfaction

Environmental Issues / Climate Change

With a growing global awareness of environmental issues, it’s critical for corporations to address these challenges and build a travel program that accounts for the impact of business travel via carbon footprints. It’s possible to measure this by:

  • Engaging with partners to receive environmental data
  • Sharing this data at the Point of Sale
  • Empowering travelers to make informed decisions

Power of face-to-face meeting


Transition to Remote Work

Companies around the world have instituted both temporary and indefinite work-from-home mandates resulting in a permanent shift in how we perceive office culture. The future of work is forever changed, and travel programs should be ready to accommodate these changes in culture and mindset.

The shift to remote work has also reinforced the power of face-to-face meetings. The majority of business travelers (81.6%) agree that “meeting in person is more effective than meeting virtually” in the Skift State of Business Travel 2020 report.

How to Leverage Company Culture

Your company culture is your DNA and affects everything from talent acquisition to retention. It should be a critical factor in crafting your travel program and even choosing which suppliers you partner with. A modern approach to travel means integrating your mission and core values into the employee travel experience.

How does travel contribute to your Employee Value Proposition?

A superior business travel experience is a powerful way to communicate your company’s value and culture to prospective employees. For current employees, a commitment to an individual's needs builds loyalty -- which is especially important as people increasingly seek out employers that align with their values. (Understanding Generation Z in the Workplace - Deloitte).

How does travel contribute to your Employee Value Proposition?

A superior business travel experience is a powerful way to communicate your company’s value and culture to prospective employees. For current employees, a commitment to an individual's needs builds loyalty -- which is especially important as people increasingly seek out employers that align with their values. (Understanding Generation Z in the Workplace - Deloitte).

How are your organization’s core values connected to your travel culture?

Progressive companies empower people and help them grow as individuals and professionals. Part of that growth is based on the tools and parameters set to support productivity. A flexible travel policy is an important part of the equation.

Do you assess the cultural fit with your travel suppliers?

Cultural misalignment can result in complex and painful business relationships while alignment can be a fantastic enabler. Take the time to understand whether your supplier values align with the company.

Lyft’s mission is to be serving people’s lives through the world’s best transportation and that's really where TripActions comes into place. [We’re] not only companies that are going to grow together but also companies that share the same type of mission, the same set of values, that truly care about the customer and care about their partners”.

Amit Patel, Director of Emerging Business Development, Lyft

Read the Customer Success Story

Traditional vs. Modern Approach to Travel Management:

Three Factors


Designing your Travel Policy

Traditional Travel Management

  • Procurement department oversees travel management
  • Finance oversees expense management
  • Human resources may contribute to travel policy
  • Numbers driven, cost-centric approach
  • Travel viewed as a cost that must be controlled
  • KPI oriented around spend measurements
  • Supplier negotiations focus on reducing costs above all
  • One-way communication
  • Reports focus on compliance, leakage, and adoption
  • Travel policy is a rulebook imposed on employees to minimize non-compliance
  • Robust processes tailored for Finance without considering traveler experience
  • Online Booking Tool (OBT) used to enforce the policy
  • Complex approval processes with gaps in UX and content
  • Several, often siloed sources of data
  • Reporting is past looking, only partial real-time data is available
  • Methods of payments that cover core needs including corporate cards for individual payments and lodge cards for central billing tied to a third party expense management tool

Modern Travel Management


A comprehensive approach with diverse stakeholders taking part:

  • Departments such as Finance, Human Resources, Security, Corporate Communications, IT
  • Key business leaders whose teams travel frequently
  • Road warriors and occasional travelers
  • People centric approach
  • Travel viewed as an investment that drives company and employee growth
  • Quantitative and qualitative metrics considered
  • Focus on providing travelers with the optimal experience while saving money
  • Two-way conversation with 360° engagement
  • Travelers empowered as decision-makers
  • External relationships with suppliers are part of the strategy
  • Demand created for the program via user experience, unrivaled inventory, effective communication, and personalization
  • Comprehensive processes tailored for Finance while considering other stakeholders
  • Online Booking Tool (OBT) with strong focus on users and content drives willing adoption, compliance
  • Data is normalized, consolidated and aggregated via a comprehensive platform
  • Reporting and dashboards present 100% real-time data and leverage predictive analytics
  • A comprehensive payment and expense management ecosystem, real-time visibility and control over spend, automated expense reconciliation and reporting

Supplier Relationship Management

Buyer and supplier relationships are critical for the success of your travel program. Establishing a quality relationship feels a little like dating to find the perfect match.


Get to know each other and assess compatibility

Sourcing Air

Traditional Travel Management

  • Negotiate contracts “the way it has always been done” with deals based on volume discounts
  • Fares loaded, require audits

Modern Travel Management

  • Negotiations based on fares, amenities, and ancillary services
  • Content is enabled via NDC (New Distribution Capabilities) channels
Sourcing Hotels

Traditional Travel Management

  • Outdated annual RFP process is complicated and time consuming for travel managers and hotels
  • Negotiated rates loaded, followed by audits

Modern Travel Management

  • Market rates primarily used, only need negotiated rates (RFPs) in high-volume markets
  • Dynamic rates combined with rate auditing to manage hotel program
Sourcing a Travel Management Company (TMC)

Traditional Travel Management

  • 100+ RFP questions covering “everything under the sun” - the information collected may not drive a decision or help the travel manager/buyer understand if their specific requirements are met
  • Primary focus and decision criteria is cost
  • The focus on commercials doesn’t assess the fit with culture or capabilities that are not part of the decision criteria

Modern Travel Management

  • RFP questions focus on what matters to the organization: targeted questions that drive decision vs. generic questions
  • The decision making process is shifting beyond cost: first priority is culture, then technological capabilities that match the organization’s requirements, and finally commercial components
  • Alignment to corporate & travel and expense program strategy is key
Work on your relationship

Establish standards, define what a great relationship looks like for both parties and follow-up

In General

Traditional Travel Management

  • Standard Service Level Agreements (SLAs) that are not targeted to the company’s needs
  • Quarterly business reviews focused on supplier performance data and new products/services
  • Minimal governance

Modern Travel Management

  • Program goals are developed, aligned to travel and expense program strategy
  • SLAs are meaningful because they are also aligned to the strategy
  • Annual business planning with suppliers and governance to manage goals throughout the year
  • Business reviews that focus on relevant innovation and key insights
Inventory, Data and Reporting

Traditional Travel Management

  • Past looking, not real-time
  • Reviewed 4 weeks post time period being reviewed
  • Large inventory available in the booking platform, displayed in a generic way with no personalization

Modern Travel Management

  • Real-time data available
  • Leverage latest technology and the power of machine learning:
    • More control over travel spend and more visibility into what employees are booking
    • Predict relevant and in-policy choices
    • Improve the traveler experience: more relevant search results, identify when extra support is needed, identify which flight/hotel the traveler is more likely to book
Seek counseling

Assess how the relationship is going and understand how it could be improved -bringing in an external independent party

Traditional Travel Management

  • You recognize that your partnership is going through various phases, “good days and bad days” and generally take no action

Modern Travel Management

  • Ongoing project management to ensure that your plan is carried out and your goals are achieved
  • Run a strategic relationship audit focused on key categories critical to a positive customer experience
  • Identify areas of the relationship where change or improvement is needed

Duty Of Care

Duty of care matters first and foremost because it is the company’s legal and moral obligation to the employee to ensure their safety while carrying out work tasks. Modern travel and expense management looks beyond obligations.

Traditional Travel Management

Risk assessment & protocols
  • Disruption management protocols: events causing minor impacts (e.g. flight delays, labor strikes)
  • Crisis management protocols: events causing major impacts (e.g. natural disaster, terrorist attack, pandemics)
Visibility across employees on the road & associated external factors
  • Traveler tracking across multiple sources
  • COVID-19 situation: dashboards in the form of static documents
Traveler communication & engagement
  • Information available through the company’s best channel of communication or even in print form - often disconnected from the travel management platform
  • Traveler engagement consists of messages on the itinerary and potentially emails before departure
  • Tools - Decentralized travel booking platform mostly relying on regional access
  • For minor disruptions - rebooking
Traveler physical and mental wellbeing
  • The focus is on ensuring the traveler’s physical safety.

Modern Travel Management

Risk assessment & protocols

Additional protocols include:

  • Use of automation and AI that becomes aware of delays and cancellations as soon as they occur and immediately begins searching for and rebooking alternative options, enriched by chat capabilities
  • Global travel dashboard aggregating several sources of data worldwide to help travel managers assess travel risks and allow or prohibit travel to specific regions or cities
  • Help travelers make informed decisions based on real-time data
  • COVID-19 specifics: aggregate real-time data including reproduction (R0) numbers, active cases, and government restrictions
Visibility across employees on the road & associated external factors
  • Traveler tracking in one interface for quick reference Visibility over all travelers thanks to the ability to track bookings made outside of the the preferred channels
  • COVID-19 context: dynamic dashboard reflecting restrictions/ recommendations
Traveler communication & engagement
  • Information available through the traveler’s best channel of communication and built in the travel management platform
  • 24-hour support built into the travel management platform at no extra cost
  • 24/7 simple, always-on, web-based and mobile-based contact method for employees
  • Traveler engagement involves pre/on/post trip support via an app that guarantees two-way communication
  • Tools - Centralized travel booking platform combining all travel booking, reporting and communication
  • For minor disruptions - Employees can rebook through the travel management platform
  • Route-based recovery features allowing travelers to make live decisions based on what is bookable
Traveler physical and mental wellbeing
  • The focus is on the traveler’s physical safety and mental wellbeing

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