What Managers Must Know About Corporate Travel Management 3.0
Every big business needs a robust employee management system. If you’re stuck untangling complex corporate travel threads every time an itinerary changes, consider transitioning to Corporate Travel Management 3.0.
The corporate travel management industry has come a long way over the past two decades. In particular, the events surrounding September 11th, 2001 forever changed the industry.
At that moment, businesses all over the world were alarmed about their traveling employees’ safety, given that they had no way to track their whereabouts. As a result, new technologies like location tracking and emergency messaging began to emerge.
These new technologies consolidated into what is known as Corporate Travel Management 2.0. Companies bought travel services in bulk and the employees were booked through approved channels. Overall, they implemented a shrewd focus on adherence to policy and expense management.
Now, corporate travel managers know that reducing corporate travel expenses is achieved by making volume purchase commitments. However, even though costs were reduced and employees herded into tight compliance, there were problems.
For example, it is estimated that around 25% of all business trips change along the way. In those cases, where unforeseen extras are needed, the employee would be forced through hours of laborious admin work to justify the expenses.
As a result, Corporate Travel Management 3.0 emerged to put the human experience back into the equation.
What is Corporate Travel Management 3.0?
In the Corporate 3.0 model, the system places the traveler’s experience as the primary focus. That means fast, reliable and integrated booking process that work across all platforms (mobile, tablets, or desktops). By providing an excellent user experience, employee engagement skyrockets.
Corporate travel managers should celebrate disruption, as the availability of technology brings more convenience and empathy in travel management systems. With a fluid approach, businesses can reshape their systems to fit evolving trends in corporate traveling.
Emphasis on the user experience
The aim is to make the traveler’s experience comfortable and autonomous. Travelers should easily be able to book, cancel or modify their trip via any device (mobile, desktop, tablet). With a pleasant experience, employees can readily take to online booking tools, so using them becomes second nature.
Employees’ wellbeing during traveling
With a system that focuses on leisure and business, taking care of the traveling employee’s health becomes easier in a Corporate 3.0 system. This means that employees gain the freedom to choose hotels and deals that suit their personality and working habits best. As a result, they won’t be forced to adjust to flawed pre-booking plans, which takes focus away from their business objectives.
Big data machine learning benefits
As machine learning goes mainstream, an abundance of tools have emerged to help companies analyze user data, which proves invaluable for effective spend management. For instance, machine learning (ML) tools can instantly predict and analyze spend faster than optical character recognition. This speed will make auditing easier and more streamlined.
Deep integration into the current systems
A corporate travel system works best when integrated with existing ERP, HR, and expense management systems. This level of integration makes it easy for organizations to streamline workflows by using existing approval systems where employees can submit their travel proposals.
Open booking concept for employees
A Corporate Travel Management 3.0 system should give the employees as much independence as possible. That means they have greater freedom to choose from a range of hotels, flights, car rentals, and other options in cases where their itinerary changes. Instead of long hours of laborious admin, employees who are used to the streamlined software will have no problems changing bookings on the fly.
Putting together a corporate travel management 3.0 system
While concepts like ‘open booking’ and ‘user centered experience’ are great in theory, it’s more complicated in reality. Here are some of the challenges:
- Finding a balance between fostering positive employee travel experiences with travel policy compliance.
- Managing employee overspending. This can eat up as much as one third of a company’s travel and expense budget.
- Maintaining transparency. Despite the need for employee independence, corporate travel managers should still ensure that employees commit to maintaining transparency regarding their activities, spending, and work-related tasks.
- Prioritizing flexibility in the system. Sticking to a “one-size-fits-all” management system will only limit the employees to what they are permitted to do.
- Learning how to integrate AI in your booking system. Using AI in your recommendation engines will help you smoothen the potential difficulties of last-minute changes.
Thus, the perfect Corporate Travel Management 3.0 system needs the proper ratio of employee travel satisfaction and corporate compliance. That means having the technical savvy to manage the tools and the HR savvy to manage the people.
Outsourcing to Travel Management 3.0 Experts
As North America’s leading Travel Management provider, Adelman Travel deploys Travel Management 3.0 services to leading corporations around the world (Fortune 500s, financial services, technology etc).
Our seasoned travel industry professionals use cutting edge travel and booking tools that integrate seamlessly with existing systems and processes. Broadly speaking, a competent Travel Management 3.0 system should encompass all of the following:
- Negotiate with all vendors (airlines, hotels, car rentals, etc.)
- Day to day management of corporate travel programs
- Traveler safety
- Travel and expense management
- Data management
If your organization is still locked in Corporate Management 2.0 practices, this article should explain clearly to your superiors why it’s time to upgrade to a holistic Travel Management 3.0 model.