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How to Automate Corporate Travel Management in 2024?

Corporate travel management refers to the system a company uses to oversee and organize business travel. This includes planning trips, booking and paying for travel-related expenses and handling the necessary approvals and documents to ensure compliance. 

Some companies outsource these tasks to specialized travel agencies, while others employ dedicated travel managers. In this piece, we’ll focus on how software can improve travel management and why automating these processes benefits everyone in the company.

What is Corporate Travel Management?

Corporate travel management involves organizing all business travel activities, such as scheduling, reimbursements, managing travel data, and handling expenses before and after trips while ensuring compliance with company policies.

The goal of business travel management is to streamline travel processes with a policy-driven system. It aims to make travel easier for employees and save the company money by reducing false reporting, misspending, and overstatement of expenses.

Why Businesses Need Corporate Travel Management? 

Businesses need an efficient corporate travel management process for several reasons:

  • It helps reduce travel expenses by preventing overspending and ensuring compliance with company policies.
  • It provides a clear record of travel expenses, making it easier to monitor and manage costs.
  • It ensures that all travel bookings and expenses adhere to company policies, reducing the risk of unauthorized spending.
  • It streamlines the travel planning and booking process, saving time for employees and administrators.
  • It simplifies the travel process for employees, making their trips more convenient and less stressful.
  • It offers comprehensive tracking and reporting of travel data, which can be used for analysis and future planning.
  • It helps manage travel risks by keeping track of employees’ travel plans and providing support in case of emergencies.
  • It enables smoother travel operations, allowing employees to focus more on their work and less on travel logistics.

What are the Steps in a Corporate Travel Management Process?

The corporate travel management process consists of tasks designed to optimize travel costs and improve the travel experience for employees. Here are the key tasks involved:

  1. Submitting Travel Request 

The employee submits a travel request with details like date, destination, purpose, duration, estimated budget, and accommodations. The manager reviews and either approves, rejects, or requests changes. If approved, advance funds are disbursed if needed.

  1. Planning Travel

Once approved, travel planning begins. This can be done by a travel admin, agency, or employee. The plan includes flight and hotel timings, intercity transport, day-wise budgets, client meetings, and authorized expenses.

  1. Managing Expenses

Employees incur expenses before, during, and after the trip. Traditionally, they save all receipts and bills to file for reimbursement later.

  1. Reporting Travel Expense

After the trip, the employee submits a travel expense report to the finance department for reimbursement. The report includes a list of all authorized expenses, dates, vendor names, expense categories, and total amounts paid. Receipts and invoices must be attached as proof.

  1. Approving Travel Expense

The manager or supervisor reviews the expense report to ensure all purchases comply with the company’s travel policy. The finance department disburses the amount once the claim is approved. In many organizations, multiple approvals are required from managers and finance teams.

  1. Getting Travel Reimbursement

After all necessary approvals, the reimbursement funds are disbursed to the employee. To speed up this process and reduce employee discomfort, it is advisable to automate as much of the process as possible.

What are the Roadblocks in Corporate Travel Management?

Many businesses struggle with managing company travel. Even if it seems under control, handling what should be simple tasks can still consume significant time and effort. Here are some common issues that might be affecting your day-to-day operations:

1. Handling High Volume of Requests

Most companies have someone responsible for overseeing travel. In large businesses, this is usually a dedicated travel manager. In smaller companies, this role often falls to someone in the administration or finance teams.

When company travel is frequent, it can become a burden. Requests come from all over the business and don’t always follow proper procedures. This can lead to scattered and inconsistent interactions, making management difficult.

2. Approval Tracking

The admin or finance team must ensure that travel is authorized by the right people, such as team leaders or managers, and sometimes the CEO. This adds more steps to an already lengthy process. A travel management system can simplify this by automating notifications and approvals.

3. Expense Control

Travel is essential for business growth, but it can be costly. Companies often don’t access low-cost options, relying instead on “business hotels” and travel agents, which can be expensive. 

In our personal lives, we seek deals on sites like Airbnb and Booking.com, but companies often overlook these options. Using a travel management system can help manage costs more effectively.

4. Data Management Challenges

Travel expense processes traditionally rely on data from employees, vendors, and managers. Manual data entry increases the likelihood of errors, contaminating the final database and potentially leading to poor decisions.

5. Error Reduction

Mistakes in travel management can be costly. Fixing errors wastes time and resources. Problems like lost receipts, incomplete expense claims, and incorrect expenses are common. A good collaborative project management tool can help reduce these errors and improve efficiency.

Why Should You Automate Travel Management?

Many of the challenges mentioned earlier revolve around two key issues: time and effort. Every additional task employees must perform takes time, especially when they need to understand and comply with travel policies.

Figuring out these policies can be a significant time drain at the outset. Every question and mistake adds to the complexity. This can lead to frustration and a lack of adherence to the policy.

Automation can address these challenges by incorporating the travel policy into a management system. This eliminates the need for employees to remember or inquire about the policy. They simply follow the automated process step by step.

This approach not only reduces errors but also frees up the administrative team to focus on more important tasks. Moreover, allowing employees to book their trips empowers them to plan journeys that suit their needs.

Automation can be as flexible and user-friendly as needed, allowing for budget limits, supplier restrictions, and other preferences to be easily implemented. Automation streamlines the corporate travel management process, making it more efficient and less burdensome for everyone involved.

Corporate Travel Management Made Easy with Peakflo

With Peakflo’s Travel and Expense Management Solution, you can streamline your expense processes, empower your employees, and gain better control over your company’s spending. Let’s dive into some of the key features that make Peakflo a game-changer for businesses:

Highly Configurable Travel Policies

Define highly configurable travel and expense policies tailored to your company’s specific requirements. From allowable work-related expenses to travel guidelines, Peakflo allows you to customize policies to ensure accurate and efficient spending management.

Corporate Travel Management policy

Dynamic Expense Limits

Say goodbye to fixed expense rates that don’t account for varying travel scenarios. With Peakflo, you can dynamically adjust expense limits based on factors like location, duration, and specific employee needs, giving you better control and visibility over your daily budget.

Corporate Travel Management category

Enhanced Travel Request Customization

Make your travel requests as detailed and customized as your company needs. Peakflo allows employees to upload attachments on a line-item level, such as multiple receipts or invoices for airfare, hotel, and other travel requests. You can also add custom fields to the line items to gather all necessary information for reviewing and approving travel requests.

Travel Request

Digitize and Record Expenses on the Go

With Peakflo, employees can create expenses or upload receipts directly, keeping a record of all travel expenses in one place using mobile or desktop devices. Expenses can be converted into expense reports in one go, streamlining the reimbursement process.

Corporate Travel Management receipts

Streamlined Expense Report Creation

Employees can easily create expense reports for company-covered expenses and submit them for approval. The right approval policy is automatically assigned to the expense report based on predefined rules, simplifying the approval process.

Corporate Travel Management Expense Reports

Simplified 2-Way Matching with OCR

Peakflo’s OCR technology automatically matches expense reports with receipts, flagging any mismatches. It also flags duplicate expenses and invoices submitted by employees, helping to avoid overpayments and ensuring accuracy in expense reporting.

Simplified 2-Way Matching with OCR

Automated Approval Workflows

Put approvals in easy mode with Peakflo’s automated approval workflows. Set up unlimited approval levels, define approval brackets based on expense amounts, and assign rules to streamline even the most complex approval processes. Plus, receive notifications for approvals through email, WhatsApp, or Slack for faster decision-making.

Corporate Travel Management Approvals
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