Open for Business Podcast - Episode 2
aired on April 28, 2020

What Happens When Travel Stops

Podcast illustration. Woman doing yoga.

The second Open for Business episode What Happens When Travel Stops explores how travel managers can continue to drive value now that business travel is on pause and their traveling employees are home safe. While it might seem that the travel manager role becomes redundant when business travel stops, companies need their travel managers now more than ever.

Travel managers are preparing their organizations and travelers for when business travel inevitably resumes. They are ensuring that their programs and policies prioritize traveler health and safety while controlling costs and saving money.

Joining us this week are Caroline Strachan, Manager Partner at Festive Road, and Mira Rosenweig, Enterprise CSM at TripActions and previous Director of Travel Services at KBB Partners. Together, they’ll help us understand how travel managers can help prepare their organizations to get back to business and business travel safely.

In this episode of Open for Business: A Corporate T&E Podcast, we’ll discuss:

  • The preparation phase of the “response-prepare-return” framework
  • Why essential travel should be reframed as “permissible travel”
  • The role TMCs play in ensuring a smooth return to business travel
  • How to create strong communication across multiple stakeholders
  • How travel managers can rethink and improve expensing during the pause
  • How to stay engaged and connected with grounded business travelers
Subscribe Now
Listen to Open for Business: A Corporate T&E Podcast and download this episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast, Stitcher, Castbox, Google Podcasts, or on your favorite podcast platform. You can also watch the conversation on YouTube.
Caroline Strachan
Managing Partner

The return phase will come. It will come at different times for different companies. It’s your job as a travel manager to step up and lead the way.

Joining us on the podcast this week:
Caroline Strachan
Managing Partner, FESTIVE ROAD

Caroline is managing partner of corporate travel consultancy FESTIVE ROAD and a leader of the corporate travel community. She has 30 years of experience as a buyer, supplier, and consultant and brings a unique perspective across the entire travel supply chain. Previous to FESTIVE ROAD, Caroline led Global Consulting at American Express as well as travel programs at Yahoo, Cisco, and AstraZeneca. She has sat on the boards of GBTA and ITM and has received numerous industry awards for her work. Caroline also spoke at TRAVERSE 19.

Mira Rosenzweig
Enterprise Customer Success Manager, TripActions

Mira Rosenzweig is an accomplished travel management professional, focused on the development, implementation, and leadership of global travel programs for international organizations. With more than a decade of experience working within corporate travel, Mira previously served as Director of Travel Services at KBB Partners where she was responsible for the continuous development of the company's strategic travel program. Having seen the industry from every angle, Mira today helps her enterprise partners work with a first-in-class technology platform.

What Happens When Travel Stops
Podcast Transcript

Samantha Shankman: Caroline, you’ve written about how travel managers should think of their approach in terms of a “response-prepare-return” framework. Can you explain that in more detail?

Caroline Strachan: The initial thoughts around the framework came from my background as a travel buyer where I feel I've been in this situation before - although nothing quite like this. I’ve worked through things like the ash cloud, 9/11, and the global financial crisis. Travel managers are resilient. They’re a tough bunch and they've been through a lot. I was a travel manager for 12 years throughout those periods. So, I was thinking back to my travel manager times and what curve you actually go through. The immediate response phase is really hard, really hard. I feel for anyone that's been through that over the last couple of months. What's different now is we have this prolonged pause. For the majority of companies, nothing's happening although there are still some who need to move around key and essential workers.

What do you do with yourself in this period? If you're a travel manager, your leader or CFO may be saying to you, ‘We're not traveling at the moment so surely you don't have much to manage.’

But it was our longstanding joke in AstraZeneca that we actually needed more resources whenever we didn't travel. Managing demand, helping people understand why they can't travel, if they are allowed to travel, and what the differences are now was really quite critical. That's why we've really gone off to that preparation phase.

The return phase will come. It will come at different times for different companies. There is not going to be one day where we press a button and it's all just going to come flooding back.

What that drip feed looks like is going to be so important. People have spoken about a U-shape with a lazy angle, but that return leg of the U is going to be so different depending on the company. My call to action in the Business Travel News article was: Be ready. It might come in two weeks or four months, but it's your job as a travel manager to step up and lead the way.

Mira Rosenzweig: Absolutely. It's not just about the organization, but also where your organization does business. There are some countries starting to open up, and if you don’t have business in that location, there is not an opportunity for you to travel immediately. Or it’s an opportunity for you to break into new markets. There needs to be an understanding that it’s not just press a button and go. We’re not going from zero to hundred. It really is about understanding safety and what is necessary and what that means to each organization.

Samantha Shankman: Mira, you work directly with a lot of companies and travel managers that are currently moving through this. What have you seen? Have most companies moved from a response phase into a preparation phase?

Mira Rosenzweig: Yes, most of the organizations that I'm currently working with are looking for guidance on what it will look like and how they can prepare for when they’re ready to travel again.

They’re looking for guidance on what routes are safe to travel, how they can restrict certain routes, and how they are going to budget in the future. Companies are going through cash preservation right now, but they also need to get back to business which means traveling at some point. How do they weigh if this trip cost is really necessary to the business or not?

It’s really looking at the internal parts of the business as well as what your agency partners or travel vendor partners can do to help you prepare. Once you are able to travel, the questions become: What airlines are flying? What hotels are open? How have accommodation preferences changed? What health and safety processes do you have in place internally? Travel managers typically have a counterart in risk, security, or emergency planning. This really justifies the need for those departments to work together seamlessly. Now there is an integrated synergy that needs to happen moving forward.

Samantha Shankman: You bring up a lot of good points. There's so much to dive in here, but I want to start with what you just touched on, which is that there's a lot of different stakeholders across the companies. The travel manager is really in a role right now where they can be fostering communication, fostering collaboration. How do you create strong communication across multiple stakeholders that are involved in business travel?

Mira Rosenzweig: It really is about understanding the market and business needs and then coming up with a plan. A plan is not a black and white, because we don't know what's going to happen. We don't know what this thing is going to do. A plan is providing guidance and working with those teams for their specific skill sets. If you have a risk and security team or emergency planning team, they have resources that you need to help pull in. As the knowledge holders, you need to listen to them and work together to get those plans done. You need to understand what the company's budgetary requirements are going to be moving forward past 2020 to even 2021. Also, what do your security and emergency planning teams need from you because it involves HR and employee health and safety. Is the company going to take the risk and say, "You have the ability to travel. Do you want to travel?" How is that going to be communicated throughout the entire organization? There’s a real communications piece. It's touching every piece of the organization at this point. The travel manager needs to not dictate, but really listen to all of these knowledge holders and help them come up with a plan.

Caroline Strachan: I agree that the travel manager can step up and be the managed service owner at this point. All of those different stakeholder groups have a role to play. When we talk about engagement at Festive Road, I always think of TESS. It stands fors Travelers, Executives, Stakeholders, and Suppliers.

Mira covered stakeholders really well. Every department in your company is going to have some kind of say in what the plan looks like moving forward. In normal travel, there was a 5% influence. Now, there’s probably an 80% influence on what travel looks like moving forward. Travelers are stakeholders. Employees are stakeholders. Do they even want to travel? I'll come back to managing demand and what we call permissible travel in a moment. Mira covered stakeholders.

Executives are another really key influence. If you don't already have an executive sponsor, you will need one. You can do that up through your reporting line if you work in finance, procurement, HR or wherever you are. Use your line upwards as high as you can and get to the most senior person who is going to need to sign off your plan. You need to come up with a plan as to how you're going to handle the return to business travel. That plan is not just down to you. As a travel manager, you're most definitely not an island in this situation. You come up with a plan, you get your stakeholders involved, and then you take it forwards and upwards and say, “Here is a cross company agreed plan that you need to sign off. Executives are really critical.”

Then, finally, the S that lots of people forget: Suppliers. It's no good agreeing on everything internally if your TMC then can't operationalize it or your airlines won't even be flying. We've had some of that in Europe where some outspoken CEOs have been saying they won’t fly under certain conditions.

I really feel for the supplier community at the moment, one, because, of course, everything they're going through. And two, they need to try and at some point navigate this situation and start increasing the amount of supply, but they have no clue what the demand is going to be from a corporate perspective. We need to find a way of getting that information across the airways backwards and forwards so that we start to match up the supply and demand piece.

There's one other thing I'll say about engagement. It's big and maybe there’s a whole podcast on its own dedicated to the conversation you can have with your executives around what is valuable travel. I've sat in front of many CFOs in my time in Festive Road and my time as a travel buyer. They're very good at asking very direct questions like, “How are you going to control the floodgates when we can travel again? When those flood gates open, I need it to be a trickle because I want to manage the associated costs.

CFOs are worried about the floodgates opening, because they want to control demand for traveling. Managing that demand is going to be really key. Determining what the most valuable types of trips will be is really critical. Now, I was once told this wonderful phrase by an executive in a travel company who said, "Travel is like cholesterol. You have to encourage the good and discourage the bad." If you can keep that in your mind as you go through, ask yourself, “If I could only take 100 trips in this next month across the whole company, who would we want to let through?”

With our clients, we’re calling that phase one corporate travelers. We'll maybe get onto the word ‘essential,’ but the word is not ‘essential’ at all because that does not translate to corporate travelers. Everyone thinks their travel to sign a deal is essential or meet that person is essential. You have to be really clear on that. Who's going to be in that phase one group? Who's going to be in phase two, phase three? It absolutely depends on the organization you're in as to who's going to be in each of those phases. Can you tell I'm passionate about engagement?

Samantha Shankman: Fantastic. It's the most important thing that can be happening right now.

Mira Rosenzweig: Caroline, I absolutely agree. Understanding what the suppliers are planning to do and us, as buyers, providing what our needs are is really important. If you want to travel somewhere and there are no flights, or the flights are getting canceled because they're not at capacity, or there's no safe place for them to stay, it's really important that we're having that communication line open. It’s also difficult right now because of the amount of people in the organizations that have been furloughed or laid off. Your point of contact may not be there anymore, at least for a little while, so it's really about utilizing your supplier relations through your travel agency because they might have a different contact that's being used. Also, how are you evolving your travel policy and your travel program with your travel providers? So it's really about that agency piece as well. If you're able to go from New York to California, what are you doing to restrict New York to Las Vegast? How are you operationalizing this,because there are system stops that need to be put in place or quality assurance processes that need to happen. If an employee says, “I'm approved to travel," who is approving it and making sure you have the right approvals processes? Also, are you booking something that's safe for that employee? There's a lot of those pieces going into it.

Caroline Strachan: What you're starting to describe really well is what we call “permissible travel.” What's so unique about this Covid-19 situation versus any other situation I've through the last 15 years is that there are multiple layers. It's not just about whether the company wants you to go on the trip or an employee wants to go on a trip, it's whether the government is actually going to allow you to go on that trip. I use the word government as a catchall for health organizations, or, for us in the UK, the Foreign & Commonwealth Office. There's lots of different organizations so let's just call it “government.”

What we talk about is that travel needs to be (1) company permissible, (2) employee agreeable, and (3) government permissible. You need to have all of those three things in place for the trip to actually happen. Operationalizing that is hard. There is nothing currently in place that enables all of those three things. I think about it in the travel policy and in the booking platforms whether that's a TMC and OBT or a platform player like TripActions. You have to use all of the assets and control points that you have.

What we're advocating for is to get to a place where you have an extraordinary COVID-19 travel policy, which hopefully will be one page. We're helping our clients with keeping that as simple as possible. You're not trying to rewrite your travel policy here, you're just trying to make it really straightforward. Within those three different dimensions, there are questions you can ask yourself.

For instance, for company permissible, what type of travel is allowed in phase one? The phase one policy you have might last two weeks or two months. You honestly will not know so don't try and get that answer. That's where I see a lot of travel buyers in a bit of a spin at the moment. The uncertainty is so hard to deal with. The timelines and the uncertainty around timelines are so hard to deal with so, therefore, only deal with what you can, and that's that you published phase one and you'll extend phase one for as long as you need to.

What approvals will be needed? Mira touched on that already this is a really critical one question. What additional risk are you accepting as their employer allowing that travel to happen? You can start to go into all the different scenarios of the traveler who goes and gets sick while they're away. They're in a location that doesn't have enough intensive care beds or ventilators. That's a real scare story, hideousness that I wouldn't want to face, but I think, as an employer, you are going to have to go through those scenarios. There might be more simple trips that maybe you don’t have to be as concerned about.

So we first think about what's company permissible then go to what's employee agreeable. Just because you will permit it as a company doesn't mean that all of your employees are going to be happy to do that travel. You need to listen, which goes back to the engagement point, listen to the concerns your employees have and make sure that you have those covered in your approach, travel policy, and the way that you're operationalizing. Therefore, what physical support do they need? There might be additional steps they need to take and additional guidance that they need to receive before they can even book a trip. It might be something physical like a medical pack that they need to be provided with before they travel.

Then the final question around the government is, “What will the government and borders allow?” It's going to be really interesting in the United States, because you're going to be facing what we do every day in Europe. You have differing restrictions state to state, maybe even county to county, so it's almost like passport control, without the borders to control it. It’s going to be super interesting. Whereas in Europe and Asia Pacific and South America, you already have some of that in place because you have border control and visas and some of those dynamics can get used to help us start traveling for business again.

But, imagine the complexity. Mira mentioned New York and Los Angeles. Imagine that times 5,000 different points between A and B. This is the complexity that we're dealing with. Not only that, but all of those different points could be changing every day. Not one of them, but let's say hundreds of them change each day.

Mira Rosenzweig: And the restrictions. You may be able to leave, but you may not be able to come back when you want or need to come back. There needs to be contingency plans if you're traveling. Do you have to quarantine-in-place where you're traveling to? Do you have to quarantine-in-place when you come back? Really, it's about understanding what's going on locally where you're traveling and where you're traveling from.

Some states in the United States, for example, are not taking anyone from the tri-state area. They're saying, "You can come, but you need to quarantine immediately. You can not be in public." It's very interesting to see. As a country, we really are being governed by state regulations which open city by city or even county. I think there's an opportunity, but it is really about data-driven decisions. What we're talking about is not just whether we have business that we need to go and settle in person. It's really around the data of security, safety, and health. It's data around suppliers. There's just so much that goes into that decision and it's not just about, "I want to travel." That's not a stance that you can have anymore.

Caroline Strachan: I heard a really great summary from TripActions CEO Ariel Cohen in an interview with Scott Solombrino at GBTA. Ariel was talking about route-based recovery. I think that's the mindset for travel management right now. You might have permissible travel agreed upon by executives and the policy written, but you can’t just fly wherever you want to. It will be route-based.
The business travel recovery will be very route-based and, therefore, the pressure will be on the point of sale -- the TMCs, online booking tools, and platform players -- to manage the complexity of that overlaid with each individual company’s requirements. That’s what we are really trying to drive towards at the moment. We’re really helping customers build out a framework on what they can control internally.

Then there was another side to it, which asks, “What are the external factors?” Quite honestly, like the industry, the world doesn't have answers to those external factors yet. We have the questions already, but we've been very clear in saying, "Don't go badgering your TMC for the answers to these right now because no one has the answers." As an industry, we need to come together to get those answers back down to the travel manager community.

Samantha Shankman: This is really interesting to think about these different perspectives on essential travel, and not even essential travel but permissible travel, and all of the different factors that travel managers are weighing as they consider how travel returns, when it will return, what kind of travel will return. Each of you brought up a really interesting point around using data to be able to make some of these decisions and having it a step-by-step return to business travel.

You mentioned different suppliers and how we're going to be working with our different suppliers, but I think one of the most important partners in this whole process is each company's TMC. You've each touched on this, but I want to explore a little bit more. What role does a TMC play in this preparation phase as companies are looking at how they will return and when they will return? What relationship should travel managers be fostering with their TMC?

Caroline Strachan: It's such a great question. If you ask a hundred travel buyers, you're likely to get a hundred different answers. These are extraordinary times so, therefore, it needs an extraordinary approach. Don't go hitting your TMC over the head, expecting them to do 10 new tasks you've never expected them to do before for the same price you paid them in the past.

If you think of the TMC as the conduit, they're the one place, and it's actually across all categories of spend in any corporation. All other category managers are really jealous of travel category managers because we have a point of control. Through the TMC, OBT or platform, we have that control. The control point is now more important than it ever has been. It previously was about controlling cost and, you would hope, about improving employee experience, but that’s not historically been the case so let's agree to this point, it's been about controlling cost. This now also needs to be about making sure the employee is comfortable and confident to go on the trip. It also needs to be about managing the myriad of government advice.

Should all of those three things -- managing the company requirements, the employee requirements and government restrictions -- be the TMC's responsibility? I have a view, but my view is almost not important. It's for the TMCs to be working through that and saying, "We will step up and take that responsibility," or "Actually, we can't. It's too risky for us to take that responsibility. Therefore, we need another layer on top of what we offer you." I think we might see some new entrant players. I saw a great article the other day in Skift where they were sharing a player that EY had contracted to provide this data overlay before they go anywhere near the point of sale. I'm looking for more information on that to see what that will do.

One end of the spectrum, there is a company that will say, "Here is a checklist," and it'll be an ugly word document with 10 questions on it. “Go find out the answers to these, bring back your homework and if you get them all right, you're allowed to go on a trip," which would be disastrous, by the way. I'm not advocating for that at all. Right up to the other end, to the players who are going to absolutely automate this at scale, at speed, at the point of sale, in a way that the travel managers and the companies can really trust, so the government advice is up-to-date and it's being fed from credible sources.

I really think it's going to be that spectrum. You're going to have the companies with the word document who are going to make it clunky for their travelers and those that are going to be working with players who will absolutely digitalize the whole piece and everything in between.

Mira Rosenzweig: These companies are now also saying, "You must use a travel agency." Historically leakage has been a major problem in our industry. It's really important that the travel agency partner is able to live up to the service standards that you're expecting from them moving forward, and the potential to increase volume when things shift. The company is going to really mandate using the TMC moving forward. The communications going out say, "If you want to travel, you must use our agency." There are no if’s, and’s, but’s or exceptions at this point.

Caroline Strachan: To build on that, what I think is going to be really interesting is what's going to happen with data security versus freedom of movement. If I speak to my peer group, my friends, they are saying, “Do you know what? You can take whatever data you like. Let's get the world moving again. I want to have free movement. Give me the app that tracks me wherever I am. I will be super happy to do that.” There were other groups of people, and different cultures, where there is a complete uproar around providing personal data.

I wonder if those data restrictions and how we all felt about our data as corporate travelers six months or a year ago will change, if people will feel differently now, and they will be willing to give up data points if that is what allows free movement again. I think data is going to be critical in all the ways that Mira just explained, but, in addition to that, there's going to be this quite macro-issue around data that's going to be quite critical to getting us all moving again.

Samantha Shankman: Absolutely. It's been fascinating even reading about the different technologies that will become available and asking how this will work when you have a workforce that has different opinions about which of their data they're sharing and who it's being shared with.

I think it brings us back to an interesting point about travelers. Business travelers are going to have very different feelings about when they return to travel, and it's absolutely important that travel managers are, like you said, really engaging with them at this time. I want to talk a little bit about the best ways that travel managers can stay engaged and connected with their traveling employees while they're grounded so that these kinds of conversations can be happening. What's the best way to stay engaged and connected?

Caroline Strachan: My really simple answer is one-to-one with a ratio of 90% listening and 10% talking, because travel managers do love to talk. We all do. Mira earlier talked about working with your communications team and I 100% support that. In the past, you may have struggled to get access to your communications team. I remember in a couple of companies, I used to have to bake brownies to get access to the comms team. Whatever it takes, I'll give you that advice right now, start baking brownies if that's the help you need, because they are going to hold the keys to how much or little communication they want going out to the employees right now. Surveys definitely shouldn't be going out. I think people are sensitive to and tired of screen time. Our whole world is the screen right now.

No doubt people are now listening to this while they're looking at a screen doing something else. Get to that human factor of having a one-to-one conversation with someone. In my time in one major player that I worked for, we had to go have a travel ban for financial reasons, very different reasons to now. We used that time to engage with lots of travelers one-to-one to ask them what the travel ban was doing to their world, how it was affecting them. It really helped us get to understand what truly valuable travel was, and it helped us see which types of trips were creating the greatest return for the organization and which trips were actually causing the organization pain. For instance, scientists not able to collaborate on a discovery project, or a commercial project that they really needed to be out in front of the customers listening.

There were real key bits of company-specific information that we uncovered, but there were also really personal items that we uncovered. There's a great piece of research, the best that has ever been published, in my opinion, that The Economist wrote about called The Darker Side of Hypermobility. It talks about your social, emotional, and physical wellbeing when you travel so much. The reason I love the research so much was it absolutely replicated everything I heard from those travelers that I spoke to during the ban, and this is what travelers are going to be going through right now in an amplified way. Some of the feedback we got was how hard they were finding their job to do if they were used to using travel as a tool to do their job. There's key tools that you're used to having. Travel is a key tool that people are used to having around to get their job done. Go listen to them about the pain it's causing at a company level and on an individual level.

I've even heard things from individual travelers over the years. I remember one statement so clearly a woman saying, “I've been a frequent traveler all my life. I actually worry this ban is going to cause me a divorce,” and she wasn't being flippant. I had to gulp a little bit when I heard the feedback. It was like, “Wow, I'm really sorry we put you in that situation.” We ended up having a great conversation. But she opened up, she was being really truthful. That's going to be happening all over the world right now. And that's just one example of lots of micro-impacts on a personal level, so listening to the travelers at the moment is key.

Mira Rosenzweig: I'm really suggesting that my travel managers host office hours. Talk to their travelers, set up one-on-ones, even some groups with EAs, because that's a big part of their job as well that they're not utilizing right now. What are they doing? How can they assist with travel as things pick up? Also, I think when we identify what permissible travel is, one thing that may be interesting for travel managers to do is, have that one-on-one conversation with the traveler before their first trip. It is a way to open up those doors and say, “You want to travel? Great. Let's go through your itinerary. Let's go through what's going on. It may give them peace of mind or a point of contact if they ever feel uncomfortable.

Samantha Shankman: This is a really important aspect. Our first episode of Open for Business: A Corporate T&E Podcast Powered by TripActions was all around health and safety and, really, the physical, mental, emotional wellbeing of travelers. It was a really interesting conversation in that we talked a lot about this relationship of how frequent travelers really integrate travel into their life, and how this pause was affecting them and how it might impact them going back up. It was a fascinating conversation. Another thing that I'd love to touch on is expenses. Expenses are traditionally a less glamorous part of travel. It's a thing that you had to do when you got home. It's something that a lot of business travelers are not doing at the moment. How should travel managers be rethinking their expense strategy during this preparation phase? People aren't expensing right now, so it's a time to kind of rethink policies or practices. Do you have any thoughts around how expenses can be rethought right now?

Caroline Strachan: We're recommending to any travel manager, certainly to our customers, but any travel manager that is ready to do this that they have a real opportunity now, in addition to preparing for the return, to do a really straightforward exercise. It's so effective and called, “Stop. Start. Continue.” IThink of all of the elements of a travel program, the foundational parts: the team, the policy, your TMC, OBT or platform, and your suppliers and services like air, hotel, car, building up to things like wellbeing or sustainability. All of those things come together to make a travel program. Which of those do you have practices in that you could just stop doing? Which of those could you start doing something differently? Everything else ends up in the “continue” bucket.

The “continue” list one is the easiest. But I always urge people to go back over the continue list and ask, “Is this true? Actually, is there anything in here we could stop?” I'll give you a “stop” and a “start” example and then I'll bring you back to expenses. A “stop'' example would be the world of travel management that relies on an annual hotel RFP process, which everyone rolls their eyes at for years but hardly anyone has changed it. You could stop the RFP process, especially in the world that we are in right now.

The way we think about hotel expenses is going to change dramatically over the next couple of years and TRIPBAM has some amazing data that I'm sure they'll be happy to share with people around what they think is going to happen over the next couple of years.

Something you could start doing is rethink payments. An area of payment that seems to remain elusive to so many travel managers for a number of years is virtual payments. Now we have some clients who have been absolutely at the forefront and have been leading the way, so shout out to Ben from Parexel. He is one of the industry gurus on virtual payment for the way he has contracted with lots of different providers that they came together for one seamless virtual solution. If you put that together with the situation we're in right now, where you want as little contact as possible, virtual payment is a no brainer. If I think of expenses and that “stop, start, continue” exercise, what am I going to stop doing where expenses are concerned?

There might be things where you might want to limit the merchants that you're allowing people to spend money at so you need to work with your provider to do that. What might you start doing? You might want to start enabling as much virtual pay as possible however that looks for you. What might you continue doing? There might be key elements from a compliance perspective working with your finance team that you absolutely must make sure are baked into the future process. A lot of our team are quite excited about the opportunity that this pause that we're in right now presents for payment.

Mira Rosenzweig: Carolina, I agree with you. Virtual payments are a huge opportunity. It's not something that’s been widely accepted in the U.S. and Europe that has been widely accepted. Asia is far ahead of us. Another piece that we’re seeing is around how you proactively change the expensing process? As you mentioned, stopping certain vendors from even being able to charge on a payment solution or understanding what a trip should be costing and having special limits on cards or payment solutions. There's lots of different things that you can do proactively rather than reactively at the expense part. Then when you're looking at budget, which is really going to be key right now, it is about understanding how much this trip is supposed to cost versus what it actually costs.

If you can put those limitations on proactively, it'd be beneficial and maybe even lead to more travel for that company. If you're going 30% or 40% over budget on every trip, you may not be able to make that trip that you really need to to close that deal. I think being proactive and finding solutions to be proactive in the expensing piece, or even take the expensing piece off the plate of the traveler, is important. A lot of companies require employees to use their own personal cards, and that causes the expense. There are corporate solutions out there such as the virtual payments that they can put in place rather than require an employee -- who might have experienced pay cuts, or been furloughed, or don’t feel comfortable making those charges -- to use their own card. There needs to be those pieces also in place for the expense process to be evolving through this crisis.

Samantha Shankman: As you know, TripActions recently introduced TripActions Liquid, which is a corporate virtual payment solution so we’re excited to see how this space continues to evolve into the future. It’s time to wrap up and the house has flown by. Thank you so much for your time and sharing your knowledge. We’re so grateful to share this conversation with our communities.

Caroline Strachan: Thank you, Samantha. Thank you, Mira!

Mira Rosenzweig: Thank you. Bye.


See why more than 8,000 customers choose TripActions to modernize their Travel and Expense program.