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Proactivity, technology and culture: key elements of business travel management

The number of airline passengers travelling in and out of Australia rose to 36.2 million in 2015–16. Considering the lower air fares that have accompanied with this upward trend, together with a government commitment to signing Free Trade agreements, it’s fair to say that the scene is set for businesses to take full advantage of the opportunities this affords.

Nonetheless, with opportunity comes challenge, and the management of business travel has the potential to be a nightmare when poorly executed, and when outdated and irrelevant solutions are applied.

If they’re not doing so already, companies should aim for 100% online adoption of the technology when requesting, and managing business travel. There are a number of online systems and travel policies available, that private and public organisations can implement to better manage their corporate travel.

Below are three tips to help companies of all sizes to manage their business travel while making sure that employees are travelling safe and comfortably.

Be proactive and think ahead with travel management

When it comes to managing business travel, it is paramount to be proactive rather than reactive in order to get the best travel options and implement time and cost-saving initiatives. For that reason, using a robust and modern online travel platform is crucial.

An effective corporate travel platform will offer live tracking and updates, allocated to different business trips, including location, accommodation, additional travel requirements and more. It evaluates the worthiness of every business trip and to ensure ROI is assessed, to determine if the trip should be approved. For example, sometimes organising a face-to-face meeting rather than a video conference call can be the difference between signing an important partnership or missing on the opportunity.

Every time an employee wants to go on a business trip, a travel request should be submitted and analysed according to the company’s travel policy. This should all be done online to save time and ensure the request is clear to all parties with access to the platform. Anything outside of policy can be immediately assessed and additional information requested if necessary.

Choose the right travel technology

Ensuring that every business trip is within policy can delay the process for approvals, requests  and reporting, if it’s done in an inefficient way  — and we all know that booking a flight just a couple of days in advance can be pricey.

To guarantee that your company’s corporate travel is within policy but without time-consuming approvals, use effective travel technology to automatically captures the full end-to-end of travel data, one that can be tailored to your travel program and take the pain out of the activity.

Using smart technology gives a company complete control and visibility of every aspect of your travel, and at the same time it helps companies to streamline end-to-end processes. Requests, approvals, bookings, duty of care, expenses, reports and more can all be managed on a single interface. This kind of approach boosts efficiency by shifting from traditional processes such as emails, phone calls and manual paper pushing for approvals and expense claims, to an easy-to-use platform that allows travellers and managers to send and receive real-time information on any device, anywhere in the world. This technology can also bypass the approval process, if the business trip and all the details captured are within policy — bringing efficiency to another level.

Modern travel management technology allows travel managers to implement cost-saving initiatives, drive policy compliances and monitor real-time changes to travel spending.

Create a culture of reward

Culture plays a pivotal role in every organisation’s travel behaviour. Employee beliefs and attitudes towards when and where they fly, the airlines they choose, and the hotels in which they stay, can dramatically impact the overall effectiveness of your corporate travel.

Having used an effective online travel management system, businesses can implement an internal culture where those employees who save on travel expenses get rewarded. For example, instead of staying in a five-star hotel, they can choose a room at a four-star hotel or Airbnb. Then the employees who make these types of spend-wise decisions can be rewarded with gift cards or something the organisation considers appropriate. Companies can also encourage employees to book in advance to get cheaper deals.

Ultimately the positive results from business travel are key to the success of any growing company. Let smart technology enable your existing processes and procedures to truly reap the rewards of best-practice travel management.

About the author

rossRoss Fastuca is a technology expert and passionate problem solver. As CIO and Co-founder of Travelport Locomote, he is the architect of the company’s products, directing Travelport Locomote’s technical strategy to revolutionise business travel.

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Ross Fastuca

Ross Fastuca

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