Domestic and international business travel in the United States amounts to nearly $387 billion in annual revenue. Though business travelers account for only 12% of total U.S. air travelers, they make up to 75% of airlines’ profits and account for as much as 40% of hotel guest proceeds. With business travel programs padding the pockets of most travel providers, it begs the question:
How can businesses efficiently manage travel needs, improve traveler experiences, and ensure compliance, all while reducing costs?
The answer lies in business travel solutions, vital for organizations looking to remain agile and productive in today’s increasingly expensive marketplace. Business travel solutions not only save time and money for corporate travel programs but also ensure productive, stress-free journeys for travelers. Discover how to enhance corporate travel with business travel solutions.
What Are Business Travel Solutions?
Business travel solutions combine tools, technologies, and travel services that help companies manage their corporate travel programs. Travel solutions range from online booking tools and travel portals to comprehensive travel management platforms that enable organizations to streamline budgeting and scheduling for the 460 million business travelers per year.
Adaptive and agile business travel solutions contain four primary components:
- Booking Platforms. Centralized systems that allow employees to book travel providers, from scheduling flights and hotel stays to renting cars, according to company policies.
- Expense Management Tools. Software that simplifies the process of reporting and tracking business travel expenses, aiding in budget adherence and financial transparency.
- Travel Policies and Compliance. Corporate guidelines for safe and cost-effective travel are integrated into the above tools to guide bookings and expenditures.
- Reporting and Analytics. Dashboards and reports that track travel expenditures compliance rates and even forecast future travel needs based on current data trends.
Organizations in the early stages of a travel program may partner with a travel management company (TMC) to access program management tools, executive travel services, and reporting functionality. Those with a developed program often prefer end-user booking tools, like arrivia’s turnkey travel portal, to access competitive prices through our global itinerary of travel brands.
Why Simplifying Corporate Travel Management Matters
At a time when 1.3 million business trips are taken daily, it’s paramount to simplify the challenges of corporate travel with proven business travel solutions. For one, maneuvering multiple platforms to budget and book travel is time-consuming and inefficient. Not to mention that unexpected fees, overpriced bookings, and other unforeseen charges can quickly inflate the travel budget.
Likewise, with proper oversight, organizations can avoid non-compliance with international travel regulations and internal program policies. A whopping 72% of corporate travel managers report they have yet to achieve their desired travel policy compliance level, citing shortcomings in travel experiences, inability to meet budget requirements, and a lack of program transparency.
These are arenas for corporate business travel solutions to shine. The benefits of simplifying corporate travel range from cost efficiency due to better budget management and reduced extraneous expenses to increased employee productivity. Travel solutions enable employees to focus on business tasks without being bogged down by complex travel logistics.
In other words, business travel solutions work towards continuous improvements in the traveler experience. Simplified corporate travel management solutions ensure that employees who routinely travel for business have a smooth and hassle-free travel experience; plus, they provide more flexibility among travel providers so that employees can select brands aligned with their preferences.
Choosing the Right Travel Management Solution
Whether it’s domestic or international, if your employees frequently travel, the right travel management solution is the key to minimizing business expenses and maximizing travel experiences. Here’s how to select the right business travel solution for your company.
Key Features to Look for in Travel Management Solutions
When choosing the right business travel management solution, the priority should be the potential for integration with your existing systems. In particular, your chosen business travel solution must ensure seamless compatibility with your current human resources (HR) and finance tools, especially your expense management tools, to aid in budget adherence and transparency.
It’s also essential to look for a solution with a user-friendly interface, which can streamline adoption among employees. For instance, corporate travel solutions that offer a travel mobile app can enhance the ease of use for business travelers of all ages. Such applications also simplify data collection and comprehensive reporting, gathering analytics to evaluate spending and compliance.
How to Properly Evaluate Your Company’s Travel Needs
Once you’ve narrowed your options of potential business travel management solutions, compare each platform’s features to your company’s travel needs to gauge the product fit. Start by assessing your volume of travel. Determine the frequency of business travel in your organization, along with the number of employees who routinely travel and their common travel destinations.
Next, establish a clear budget for travel spending, considering both regular and unexpected costs. For example, the average length of a domestic business trip in the U.S. is three days, which costs between $990 and $1,300 per traveler. The average length of an international business trip is between five and six days, which can incur average traveler expenses of $2,600 or more.
Lastly, consider any unique requirements, such as frequent last-minute bookings or a need for advanced analytics. For instance, approximately 26% of corporate business trips are one day long and incur steep same-day flight costs. If you fall into the bucket of corporations that invest in frequent same-day flights, you must account for these requirements in your selection process.
Ensuring Employee Satisfaction and Compliance
While there is no secret formula to guarantee satisfaction and compliance with business travel solutions, there is undoubtedly a suite of best practices to set employees on the path to success. The first is to provide employees with customizable travel options or solutions that allow business travelers to choose between their preferred airlines or hotels within the policy guidelines.
Beyond flexible bookings, it’s also helpful to let employees save their preferences, such as aisle seats or certain room types, for faster bookings. Today’s employees will gladly share their preferences in exchange for personalized travel services — nearly 60% of travelers booking through a smartphone even feel more favorable toward programs whose websites or apps remember their choices.
Creating a Positive Travel Experience
Customization and personalization play into a larger program goal: enhanced employee satisfaction. So, ensure your program provides 24/7 traveler support for queries and emergencies, whether it’s through customer support chatbots or human agents, to improve the travel experience. Similarly, invest in reliable feedback channels, such as travel satisfaction surveys, for employees to share their suggestions for improvement.
Fostering Employee Compliance with Travel Policies
Did you know that 50% of business travelers do not adhere to their company’s travel policy or that another 60% don’t even understand their company’s travel policy in the first place? Therefore, regular audits are a must to foster compliance with travel program policies. It’s also wise to consider various employee incentives to reward consistent compliance with travel guidelines.
Revolutionizing Corporate Travel with arrivia
Travel isn’t just about reaching a destination; it’s about maximizing value at every touchpoint. Regarding corporate travel, businesses require solutions that streamline budgeting, booking, and balancing employee itineraries. With arrivia, organizations can reimagine corporate travel by offering exclusive savings on a wide array of travel options and coveted travel rewards.
By integrating arrivia‘s white-label, fully-customizable travel rewards platform, businesses can transform their organization’s rewards program into the preferred travel booking portal for employees, ensuring top-tier experiences and unparalleled value. Discover how arrivia can elevate your corporate travel paradigm by exploring our suite of travel technology and loyalty solutions.