5 Benefits of Managed Corporate Travel for Finance Departments
tl;dr: Saving money on flights and hotels is great, but travel management platforms have a lot more to offer
Written by: Ana Cvetkovic
It is predicted that in 2022, companies around the world will spend a combined $1.7 trillion on business travel.
The United States will be responsible for a fifth of this global corporate travel spend. Whether your company spends millions on business travel each year, or just thousands, every dollar makes an impact on the financial health of the business.
While you probably already know that corporate travel management platforms can save your company money on bookings, their benefits surpass the basic transactional gains. When your travel booking tool can free up your time, give you real-time visibility into your company’s travel spend, and help your road warriors comply with your company’s travel policy, why would you ever use a corporate travel agency or unmanaged travel program ever again?
Discover how a corporate travel tool, like Lola.com, can add value to your company beyond transactional gains.
1. Real-time reporting
Business travel management platforms give budget owners real time visibility into their team’s spend. With all team members booking travel-related expenses in the same place, all travel purchases are accounted for without having to hunt down receipts from multiple websites or vendors.
Lola even offers expense reports in real time, so that you can see if your team is staying on budget. If they’re not, you can give spenders a warning before the books have closed and it’s too late to do anything to reverse the damage.
Corporate travel management platforms give you visibility into exactly how much your company is spending on travel now, instead of weeks after the books have closed and expense reports have been submitted.
2. More accurate forecasting
When you’re able to see how much your road warriors are spending on travel in real time, you can generate more accurate expenditure forecasts.
Additionally, when everyone at your company is booking flights, hotels, and car rentals on the same site, you can see the company’s entire travel spend in one place, and can therefore fully understand its impact on the overall budget.
3. Built-in travel policy compliance
What’s the point of having a corporate travel policy if business travelers don’t adhere to it? Travel management companies let you customize the platform with your organization's travel policy guidelines, thereby reducing the number of expensive, out-of-policy purchases made by employees.
Lola’s customizable policy settings let you allow a direct flight even when it isn’t the cheapest option, set flight and hotel budgets, place limits on air travel classes, and more.
When your company’s road warriors shop for travel, they no longer need to open multiple tabs to search for flights, hotels, and car rentals AND pull up the corporate travel policy. Instead they can book confidently through Lola, which automatically highlights which options are in policy and which ones are out of policy.
Because emergencies happen, and last minute flights and hotels rates might be outside of the usual travel budget, Lola gives travelers the flexibility to make out-of-policy bookings. Out-of-policy bookings require reason codes, which help budget owners keep track of these spending anomalies.
4. Streamlined approval process/capture the lowest fare?
Innovative corporate travel booking platforms don’t have a pre-approval process for purchases. While allowing your business travelers to book flights and hotels without pre-approval may seem scary, it reduces bureaucracy and saves the company money.
If employees need pre-approval to book travel, flight prices could go up by the time the manager approves a flight. The difference between the original price and the post-approval price compounds when multiplied across the company, demonstrating just how expensive bureaucracy can be.
Lola’s intentional flexible approval process takes advantage of the air travel industry’s 24-hour booking grace period. If a supervisor has a problem with a flight that’s already been booked, the flight can be cancelled for free within 24 hours.
5. Time savings
Corporate travel management software can save your finance team dozens of hours each month by means of virtual credit card access and automated expense reporting.
Lola’s Expensify integration speeds up expense reports for business travelers. Travelers who use Lola receive digital receipts for all of their bookings. When road warriors have all of their travel expenses in one place, they can file expense reports faster. The sooner the finance department receives expense reports, the faster they can process transactions and accounts payable.
Another way that travel management software saves your finance team time is by giving business travelers virtual access to the corporate credit card. This feature eliminates the need for the physical card (and the person responsible for it) to be present for every transaction.
With a travel management platform like Lola.com, finance departments can save time on bookings, ensure corporate travel policy compliance, see spending in real-time to forecast future expenditure, and save the company money by locking in the lowest hotel and flight prices.
Are you tracking the right metrics to control your business travel spend? Check out our latest eBook on the 4 Finance KPIs for Your Corporate Travel Program.