Most business organizations need to travel a lot, be it nationally or internationally. There are several reasons that warrant travel. Professionals visit other cities to attend meetings with clients and partners. People also travel to launch new products, promote brands, or attend work-related conferences and workshops. However, organizing a business trip is often more complicated than organizing a personal trip with one’s family.
On an official trip, the costs have to be reimbursed; hence all the costs also need to be verified and approved by the higher management. Again, official trips are much more frequent and done on short notice. Hence many companies around the world are taking the help of tools as described in blog.happay.com to plan official trips better.
Some Common Challenges Associated With Business Trips
The Expenditure Management
In contrast to personal holidays where the family spends from their own pockets on professional trips, the company pays. Hence, there might be a tendency to go for lavish bookings without any concern for being economical. Hence, the higher authorities are usually quite skeptical about approving the bills for reimbursement. Hence, if the higher authorities have a clean and transparent way to track the money spent, the job is much easier. In a well-planned and managed system, the approvals happen much faster, and people get the money reimbursed fast.
Travel planning, especially at a corporate level, requires a tremendous amount of planning and time. Booking has to be made for air, train, and road-based commuting. Hotels have to be booked, and in the case where the flight has a layover, strict time schedules have to be maintained. Moreover, in big organizations, many such trips get planned in a day, and the person in-charge also has to ensure that all the paperwork follows the company policies.
Ways Of Improving The Travel Management Of A Company
Making The Policies Easier To Comply With
Every organization has travel-related policies and guidelines. However, most of the time, those guidelines are cumbersome, and they do not take the traveler’s comfort in mind. Hence, most employees choose not to follow or somehow bypass the guidelines. Hence, one of the easiest ways to improve management is to make the policies simple and easy to follow.
The policy should be consensus-oriented, and it should be up to date. Outdated policies can be a major hindrance; for instance, any policy that is of the pre-Covid era needs an upgrade. Again, companies should not just focus on cost-cutting; they should give equal importance to their employee’s comfort and safety while they are in another country for official purposes.
Making Smart Use Of Technology
Technological advances like software that integrate and automate business trips and meetings are a great tool in the hands of companies to make their lives easier. These tools have several features that make the trips pleasurable and improve transparency in getting the expenditure approvals.
There are tools that automate expenditure tracking. Whenever an employee makes any payment while he is on an official trip, the money spent by him is tracked and added to the company’s accounts. Thus, these tools allow real-time tracking of expenses. For instance, if a person makes a hotel or a restaurant bill payment, his credit card data can be tracked. If he takes an Uber, that data is tracked. Hence, there is no need for a complicated process of collecting bills and presenting them before the higher authorities for approval.
Again, there are tools that make booking easy. Getting tickets on time that also fit within the budget is quite challenging. Again travel booking involves multiple modes of transport, that is, planes, trains, etc. Hence, people have to switch multiple websites before they can get done with all the bookings. Hence, software that integrates the entire booking experience and promises to show the most relevant offers makes life easy for everyone.
Most software collects and retains data on past bookings; hence they can use Artificial intelligence or AI to make preference-based suggestions. For instance, if a company always prefers luxury hotels, the tool will show options of luxury hotels on top. The recommendations and suggestions save a lot of time that is spent in researching and looking for the best means of transport or the best hotel to stay in.
These tools can be customized to be in line with a particular company’s travel policy. Hence, they give only those suggestions that are in line with the organization’s policy. For instance, if a particular workplace expects all of their employees to travel in economy class, then the tool will not give any option for business class tickets.
These tools have found great acceptability in the industry because of two main reasons. Firstly, the interface is very easy to understand, and even a novice can master using these tools in no time. Secondly, the software comes in all major languages of the world. Hence, they have found global acceptability.
Enlighten The Employees About The Purpose Of A Business Trip
Good policies and appropriate use of technology make the process of travel planning quick and hassle-free. However, most employees do not see the larger purpose behind an official trip. The higher authorities make it a point to enlighten them and let them know that traveling is a means for business development and career growth. Then most employees will make prudent decisions while they are on an official trip.
Traveling to different cities and countries for official purposes is expected to see a steady rise in the near future. With the advent of globalization and the digital age, the world has become all the more interconnected.
Hence, most businesses are catering to a global customer base and forging collaborations across national boundaries. In fact, the number of MNCs or multinational corporations is on the rise; hence more employees will have to frequently travel to the headquarters located in another destination. Thus investment in travel management software will prove to be a great investment in the long run.