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A Guide to Effective Business Travel Management in a Post-Pandemic World

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featured image: A Strategic Guide to Effective Business Travel Management

After a few years of hiccups, business travel is getting on track. The need for business travel has seen a rising trend. Companies are willing to send their employees to exploit the new global prospects. They are backing personal meetings as an essential success and growth factor.

Are you looking to plan business trips for your employees? Are you enthusiastic about providing a superior travel experience? If your answer to these questions is a yes, you’re at the right place.

Today, we explore six business travel management strategies. Next, we understand companies’ potential bottlenecks when planning a corporate journey.

Let’s start!

Strategies for Effective Business Travel Management

You always try to cut travel costs to provide a seamless experience. The better you can track your budget, the easier it is to travel. Use these strategies to understand how to manage your business travel expenses:

1. Book flights in advance

Airlines slashing rates to fill seats in the last hour is a misconception. Most flights are the costliest when booked in the last hour. Instead, booking tickets at least 60 days prior gets you the best deals on your tickets. 

Let’s see a real-time example:

The first picture shows the ticket prices one day before the flight. Conversely, the second one shows the ticket prices 60 days in advance. Notice the huge difference in prices.

Picture 1: Ticket prices one day before the flight

Picture 2: Ticket prices 60 days in advance

So, make it a part of your travel policy and focus on employee experience to raise travel-related requests in advance. 

You can even ask all employees requesting a trip to provide a range of dates. It helps you search for the most affordable deal. Flights on a weekday are cheaper when compared to weekends. 

2. Create your inventory

Develop connections with low-cost carrier websites along with hotels. Building a rapport with them reduces costs and ensures a seamless travel experience. 

Try to ask your employees for suggestions related to hotel accommodations. Like most companies, control your employee’s travel plans without being a nagging parent- follow the laissez-faire leadership style.

While rules and policies are essential, your employees prefer freedom. Instead of restricting to some carriers and hotels, provide a bouquet of options.

So, a complete inventory list is necessary, including:

  • The phone numbers of preferred carriers,
  • Transport and cab agencies,
  • Hotels.

3. Use the services of a travel management system

As the name suggests, these systems help you manage corporate travel. A travel management system oversees and coordinates your company’s travel-related expenses and activities. A travel manager is responsible as these are manual or administrative tasks. 

With these systems, you book and manage all your business travel from one place. A travel management system:

  • Defines your travel policy, 
  • Controls the spending,
  • Manages your invoices,
  • Claims back VAT.

These systems analyze data, such as your employee’s preferred carrier and booking time. By using these insights, you’re in a better position to manage your travel expenses.

Also, it uncovers potential gaps in your travel policy, improving your travel-related ROI.

4. Encourage sustainable travel initiatives

Implementing sustainable initiatives shows your responsibility to preserve nature. It also decreases the cost of every business trip. 

Promote the use of alternative green transportation when possible among your employees.

For example, an employee can use a bus or a train for short intercity travel rather than a flight. This simple decision reduces carbon emissions during your travel.

Balance out the carbon emissions caused by business travel. You achieve it by:

  • Backing carbon offset schemes that your travel service provider recommends
  • Supporting initiatives to promote renewable energy
  • Planting trees to counterbalance the carbon footprint of your corporate travels
  • Encouraging employees to choose hotels renowned for their sustainable initiatives 

5. Provide 24/7 travel support

Business travelers need support for upcoming bookings, cancellations, visas, or itinerary changes. Often, they need urgent help during odd hours. But what if your business lacks the resources for a dedicated 24/7 helpline or support?

That’s why using a travel management system is essential.

When searching for such a system, choose one that offers 24/7 support through email, chat, or phone support. This reduces your burden of having a dedicated staff to answer travel-related issues. 

Plus, ensure your chosen system offers an AI chatbot to solve minor issues. Superior support commitment helps your employees focus on their business meetings. They no longer worry about potential travel issues. 

6. Focus on the duty of care

When your employees go on a business journey, your moral and ethical obligation is to care for them.

That’s where a duty of care comes in.

In the US, duty of care is a corporate policy and a legal need. Companies must focus on all their employees’ emotional and physical well-being and provide support for:

  • Travel insurance,
  • Discrimination, 
  • Bullying, 
  • Stress, 
  • Violence.

Did you know that 31% of business travelers show concern about their safety on business trips? This makes the duty of care an essential policy to focus on. 

Failure to adhere to the duty of care leads to hefty lawsuits. To avoid such situations, search the internet to create one or use the services of your travel partner. 

How has business travel changed in the post-pandemic world?

In the pre-COVID area, business meetings occurred now and then. But the post-pandemic world is witnessing fewer but more important trips. As a result, companies need to pay more attention to the cost and ROI associated with every business trip. It has come as good news for business travel management companies. 

Why?

During volume bookings, negotiating prices and cracking the deal were the priorities. But it’s not so now. Today, companies focus on customer service and the quality of travel partner relationships. Many give importance to add-on services like creating a travel policy and duty of care policy.

Before the pandemic, duty of care was absent from every company’s priority list. But not now. In the past two years, the duty of care has never become such a hot-selling topic in travel – it’s mission-critical. 

So, if you send your employees for a business trip, you must make them aware of what you’re getting them into.

The pandemic changed the travel industry, companies welcome these new trends. Staying up-to-date with these trends will help them restart business travel like before.

Challenges business travel management

Even though companies conduct business trips like before, they face potential challenges. Understanding these challenges helps you find a solution:

Cumbersome reimbursement process

Often, employees spend from their pocket for a business trip. You cannot predict fares like cab charges, restaurant bills, and stationary charges. As a result, employees end up paying for them. Most companies have a reimbursement policy but the process is cumbersome. Your employees undergo many tiresome processes for a single claim, resulting in dissatisfaction. 

Solution: Automate the reimbursement process with quick approval to prevent issues from occurring. 

Travel expense fraud

Travel expense-related frauds have become a headache for companies organizing business trips. Some common frauds which defeat the purpose of business trips include:

  • Duplicate expenses,
  • Fraudulent bills,
  • Policy violations and
  • Filing under the wrong category.

Solution: Use a travel management system with expense management software. This helps you find duplicate and fraudulent entries. Many of these software offer receipt scanning, adding an extra security layer.

Inability to integrate effective travel policies

An effective travel policy is the bible for corporate travel. It provides rules on all the bookings and offers safety procedures during emergencies. Crafting a cost-effective and employee-centric policy is challenging without a travel management system.

Solution: Use a travel management system to draft a corporate policy. Don’t forget to consider your employee’s safety, regulatory requirements, and travel budget.

Get ready for a travel comeback like never before

As the pandemic seems to thin out and life continues, business travel management’s future is bright.

Business travel management will generate value from business trips. They will focus less on getting employees to attend the meetings. 

These systems help you structure the travel process and enforce policies. They also automate the approval workflow. These strategies will enhance your corporate travel process and ensure hassle-free travel.

In the post-pandemic world, business travel is the new normal. And businesses are accepting this change with open arms.

Are you ready to welcome the new change in business travel?

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