Business Travel? There’s an app for that.By Kathleen Burns
A wave of new travel tech helps companies manage their travel — but how do you know what’s right for your business?Business travelers are on their phones all day long attending conference calls, responding to emails, and managing their travel itinerary. The digital age has introduced a new way of doing business, and of traveling for business. Whether you’re looking for online booking tools, digital expense management, trip tracking, or electronic airport maps, there’s an app for that. So when it comes to integrating downloadable apps into your business travel management, it’s do or die.
From the foundational basics like Google Maps, to more unique options like DUFL (a virtual closet and clothing delivery service), basically any and all travel needs can be addressed by an app. The challenge is identifying your needs during business trips and choosing the apps that best fit them.
Features and benefits of business travel apps
Apps directed towards travelers offer a wide range of features and benefits. If travel management is your top concern, look for apps that offer 24/7 customer service and powerful booking features. If you need help finding a nice restaurant to take a client to, Yelp should be your go to. For client entertainment that is a little out of the ordinary, consider checking out the Experiences feature on AirBnB. You can find unique activities in a variety of locations including private tours, cooking classes, and even dance lessons. Business travel apps are constantly evolving, adding more features, and working to improve their value add. They can help with organizing travel plans, tracking flight and hotel rewards, and introducing a sense of ease into the business travel experience.
How business travel apps can manage expenses
Enough of the fun stuff. What about apps that can help you track travel expenses? Budgeting is one of the most difficult parts of corporate travel because you can’t peer over your employees’ shoulders every minute they’re on the road to monitor their spending. Business travel apps have the potential to make real time receipt, travel and expense tracking much more accessible. It’s no secret we’re all looking at our phones, all of the time. So you might as well put your money where your eyes are. You know your employees are already using their phones. By leveraging downloadable apps to manage travel expenses, you’re making it easier for them to comply.
An essential feature for an expense tracking app is real-time spend visibility. If you’re the money distributor, you want to know where and what the funds are going towards — without having to collect mountains of paper receipts. Business travel apps can help you by integrating with online expensing tools, or by offering their own standalone expense report software.
Best apps for business travelers
This one is for the business traveler that hates checking a bag. Ship off your business clothes ahead of time to DUFL, and they will have them laundered, folded and waiting for you in your hotel room when you arrive. Bougie? Yes. A major time saver? Also yes.
- Google Translate
This app needs no explanation. We’ve all been there: you get handed the menu at a restaurant in a foreign country and have no idea what any of the dishes mean. Thank God for Google Translate. This is also extremely helpful when you don’t know how to tell your taxi driver where you want to go...Yikes.
- WiFi Map
Business doesn’t stop just because you’re on the road. But with all the recent hacking scandals, sketchy WiFi raises a lot of concern — especially when dealing with sensitive information. Enter: WiFi Map. This app helps travelers find free and secure WiFi spots near them. The WiFi insight is crowdsourced by the WiFi Map community of users. They are able to report new spots, asses the internet quality, and even share the password with other users.
Parking in a new city can be intimidating. Is street parking strictly monitored? Permit parking only? Rules seem to change on the hour, and they are impossible to keep track of. Parkwhiz can help eliminate the uncertainty by finding secure and safe parking options in an unfamiliar city. It is used in 160 different cities across the United States and lets you shop around to find the best rates.
Email can be a clunky form of communication, especially for quick questions or updates. Slack streamlines communication to multiple members of your team, no matter where in the world you are.
Best apps for corporate travel managers
Wanderu lets you book trains and buses at good deals. Helpful for travel managers who are desperate to find alternative transportation options for travelers if weather delays make flying impossible.
- AirBnB for Work
If your travelers are looking to stay in one place for a longer project, Air Bnb for business is a good place to start. This will help you find lodging possibilities that are more comfortable than a hotel room but still offer access to similar amenities like close access to a gym, strong wifi connection, etc. It also offers the possibility to rent spaces for meetings and conferences, or even a temporary office.
- Uber for Business
Ride sharing apps have quickly taken over, dramatically reducing the need for taxis and car rentals while on the road. But when your traveling employees are each using their individual accounts to book rides on business trips, and then expensing them later, spend can be hard to track. Uber for Business acts as a “digital headquarters” for a company’s ground travel. It offers visibility and control over employees’ Uber usage, which means more accurate reporting and budgeting.
Business travel is most valuable when it is managed efficiently (we have the data to back it up). That’s why we’re here to help. Maybe we’re biased, but if you value quality customer service, streamlined booking and expense tracking, and exclusive discounts on flights, come chat with us.
No matter what your business travel needs are, there are apps that can improve the experience.