TripActions Review & Alternatives
TripActions offers a robust travel management platform with agency-like support and has recently expanded into spend management via TripActions Liquid. From our review, we've found the expense management features are basic and don’t enable finance teams to really manage spend, compared to alternative solutions.
What is TripActions?
TripActions offers their customers corporate travel agency services, a business travel management software, and an expense management platform. With deep roots in travel, TripActions provides robust booking, tracking, and policy setting tools aimed at simplifying the travel process.
Their secondary offering, TripActions “Liquid,” aims to help manage and automate the expense and reimbursement process.
Does TripActions help you control spend?
TripActions allows employees to make purchases with physical corporate cards as well as one-time virtual cards. If using virtual cards, spending for specific line-items can be pre-approved before transactions take place. Physical cards still require receipts and expense submissions but help avoid the reimbursement process if provided to all employees. Otherwise, employees can also make purchases on their own cards and submit expense reports traditionally for reimbursement.
Companies using Tripactions have seven customizable policy buckets at their disposal to create a comprehensive expense policy. Workflows are then created based on these rules to determine which transactions need to be reviewed, and which can be automatically approved and reimbursed.
You can set policies at the employee and company level. Still, if an employee chooses to make a payment through their own card, you may need to reject reimbursement after-the-fact or cover the expense out-of-policy.
TripActions does not track invoices at this time, nor does it have a solution for automatically push-paying certain expenses. In order for spend to be managed on TripActions, it must either be charged to a card or manually logged.
TripActions does not track or process payroll, rent, investments, or net cash flow.
TripActions does not have a budget creation feature or budget-to-actual reporting. They do offer customizable policies and spending limits aim to help adhere to budget.
Are the control features easy to use?
TripActions offers a modern web app with reporting and administrative tools to set and enforce policies, but the wide range of payment options available means that policies can quickly get unwieldy.
Does TripActions give you visibility into spend?
TripActions reporting is in real-time, as long as the expenses are captured through the platform. Unfortunately, as reimbursements are allowed on TripActions, not all spend will be captured instantly. On top of that, payments made by check or paid without a TripActions card will need to be entered manually.
The built-in reports provide helpful insight, especially into travel line items. The reporting tool is designed with a dynamic and easily understood interface for maximum usability.
Finance will have no trouble accessing, exporting, or configuring the reports to adjust time periods, filtering, or reporting types. However, they may have to wait several weeks to have complete data, as there is no way to ensure all employees have submitted their expense reports for spend on their personal cards.
Does TripActions help you analyze spend?
While TripActions provides a few basic reports that allow you to see spending by category or vendor, you’ll need to export to excel for real analysis.
Currently, TripActions doesn’t offer any period-based analysis, comparative spend by category, or breakdowns beyond simple lists of transactions. The general reporting dashboard here gives a good feel for the depth available:
Does TripActions work well with the rest of your software?
Accounting & ERP integrations
TripActions have recently announced that they now integrate with NetSuite, Microsoft Dynamics, Sage Intacct, SAP, Xero and other ERP systems. However, no information or user feedback exists for these integrations yet, so they’re presumably new and relatively untested. Be cautious when making a decision and make sure you understand exactly how well these integrations work.
Because TripActions has historically focused on travel, they offer several integrations with popular expense management platforms. Those include Expensify, Certify, Coupa, Concur, and Chrome River. Other integrations include Namely, Slack, ADP, BambooHr, Bob, and AWS.
Raw data exports
Users can export transaction data directly from TripActions, and the platform provides filters to make that a bit easier.
Other features & benefits
TripActions's primary offering is travel management, so if you’re looking for a full-service travel agency or travel booking service with modern tools, this is where TripActions shines.
How does the card help you control spend?
For physical cards, admins can place spending limits on purchases as well as top-level company policies that determine what purchases need to be approved.
Virtual cards are issued on a per-transaction basis, and must follow the established policies set in the admin suite. Virtual cards are issued for specific purchases and do not have any hard limits on spending, only policy rules related to approval.
Does it eliminate the need for expense reports?
Partially. While the TripActions cards eliminate expense reports for any individual, pre-approved purchases, purchases made to unknown vendors on the card will still require reports and approval workflows.
The majority of expense reports can be automated away by using the three core TripActions Liquid policy features: the policy builder, proactive controls, and automated approval workflows.
The policy builder allows you to set granular company-wide policies for automatic approval. Transactions that fall within these categories will not require any manual reporting or approval.
Proactive controls allow the cards that employees use (physical and virtual) to automatically enforce the policies you’ve built and flag transactions that fall outside of those policies.
Automated approval workflows present finance managers and approvers with a list of only those transactions that fall outside of the pre-set policies you’ve created.
One thing to note: employees can spend on their own cards and file reimbursement reports. Because some categories of spend can’t be paid with cards, you’ll (unfortunately) still need to file expense reports for those transactions. If they fall within your automated categories, they’ll be automatically approved. If not, they’ll be flagged for approval by an admin.
Can everyone have a physical card? Virtual card?
Yes, the whole team can have both physical and virtual cards. Virtual cards are instantly generated and you can issue as many of them as necessary
Is it a credit card, or a corporate card?
The TripActions cards are credit card products funded by a $500 million credit line TripActions took out with SVB. Terms of the credit card aren’t available publicly, so be sure to seek those out and take a close look at any limits, APR ranges, and fees.
Are there rewards?
TripActions doesn’t offer rewards for spending, but companies can use their “price to beat” travel feature to reward employees for choosing travel options below fair market price. These rewards are redeemable for Amazon gift cards and typically eat up a third of what the company’s saved from the cheaper option.
To avoid complexity, we’d suggest implementing a policy that clarifies exactly which travel options would be ideal.
TripActions offers two packages, “Travel and Liquid Edition,” and “Travel Edition.” No details are publicly available about their platform pricing, but TripActions does take a slightly different approach to agency pricing.
Rather than fee-based pricing around services, TripActions charges a 1-time “trip fee” for each trip booked, which covers all possible services needed. This pricing is often higher than the “booking fee” charged by other providers but may come in lower if all possible fees are included.
Pricing can still be limited to a “booking fee only” solution, but this waives all future services provided to the traveler.
For travel, TripActions provides 24-7 support by live reps. They also offer a robust academy and document repository for platform usage. It is unclear what level of support they offer within their new Liquid product.
TripActions review summary
Who should use TripActions?
TripActions is a solid platform for travel-focused users who need regular travel agency-like support for large employee bases. If you’re looking for a high-touch agency experience with some basic reporting, credit card, and management capabilities, TripActions could be right for you.
Pros & cons
- Agency-like experience for travel
- Real-time reporting
- Expense management (for card purchases)
- Reimbursements still needed for non-corporate card purchases
- Very basic reporting capabilities
- Nontransparent pricing
The alternatives for TripActions fall broadly into two categories: Travel booking software and expense management. Here are a few of the top alternatives in those categories:
- SAP Concur: For large organizations with complex travel needs, SAP Concur has long been the incumbent in the travel management space. While their product may not be the easiest to use, it’s very configurable and well suited for enterprise use cases.
- TravelPerk: TravelPerk is another option for booking company (and personal) travel. Reviewers enjoy the slick user interface and group booking options available to them on the platform.
- Spendesk: Combines spend approvals, virtual cards, physical cards, expense reimbursements, and invoice management into one source of truth. Spendesk is the top provider in this category on G2 Crowd.
- Divvy: Although Divvy focuses on providing credit lines to small businesses, they also provide a free spend management platform that allows for controls around budgeting, policies, and reimbursements.
- Lola.com: A complete travel and spend management solution in one package. Lola.com provides a way to book and manage travel all in one place. Linked with its granular spend controls and powerful budgeting features, which allow you to create and assign budgets by person or category, you’ll never go over your T&E budget, or any budget for that matter. And unlimited virtual cards means you can quickly roll cards out company-wide and say goodbye to expense reports.