When it comes to handling travel for your business, a travel management tool or software can be fantastic for streamlining all your processes and making it more efficient.
Investing into a travel management tool is often necessary for a lot of businesses, especially with the ongoing pandemic making it particularly difficult to manage.
There’s a lot of travel management tools on the market, so what must-have features should you be looking for?
In this article, we’ll share some of the best features that are worth looking out for. Integrating this technology into your business could help save a lot of time, money and hassle that comes with booking travel for the company from C-Suite level employees to lower-level employees.
Handling Individual Accounts
In the US alone, 400 million Americans will go on long-distance business trips annually. Many of your employees will likely have to go on business trips from various departments, which means having the ability to handle individual accounts, will make budgeting a lot easier.
Whether you’re managing client travel or travel for your staff, it’s good to have a feature that helps filter down to individual profiles and what previous and future travel arrangements have been made. It can also help address issues or problems a lot quicker by having this feature available.
Handling these tasks in a timely and efficient manner is essential for a lot of businesses. Being able to manage individual accounts will be a welcome aid for your account managers to use.
Customizable Travel Policies
For any business, travel can vary from conference events to long-haul trips to meet overseas clients. An essential feature to look out for is the ability to customize your travel policies. Depending on your criteria, your travel policies can be adapted to suit the needs and requirements of your business.
For example, you might have a differentiation between what C-Suite employees get for their expenses vs what your low-level managers get. There may be certain limits to budgets available when it comes to each of the departments within the organization.
This is a useful feature because it helps keep everyone on the same page, avoiding any overspending that could contribute to financial issues.
Included Customer Support
Travel management solutions like any of the available tools out there should make things easier, not more difficult. It’s why having customer support that’s inclusive of the cost of the software is essential.
Having to pay extra for any support that’s needed can often hike up your overall spending, making it less cost-effective as a result. As consumers, 54% say that they have higher customer service expectations according to Microsoft. That means that your expectations should be no different.
When picking a travel management tool, it should include support without you having to spend any extra dollars. That way, you can confidently budget for your business, knowing there’s no hidden fees or charges that you’ll face.
Travel Spend Analytics
Reporting and analytics can be handy when it comes to business travel. It can be useful to have this information available so that you can make necessary changes to improve efficiency and save money.
With travel spend reporting, you’ll be able to track the spend by department or individually and you can see the amount of travel spent in relation to a campaign, client or event in particular.
Data of any kind can be helpful for a business to understand how they’re spending their money on business travel and what similarities or problem areas need addressing.
You can also make comparisons between your expenditures whether that’s between two quarters or years.
Data Encryption and Security
It’s safe to say that security and how data is handled within a business is crucial. It’s not just your business data that are at risk but also any customer or client data you hold too. 45% of Americans have had their personal information compromised by a data breach in the last five years, so it’s certainly a concern.
When it comes to the travel management tool itself, you want a service that’s going to protect your data with the right encryptions and level of security. For security features, a lot of consumers are looking for two-step authentication and in the case of mobile apps, facial recognition and pin codes for extra protection.
In a time where data breaches are rife, it’s a key feature to look out for.
Easy-to-use Booking System
Not all businesses will have account managers or roles within the organization that oversee the booking of travel.
You may have a number of employees all needing to use the booking system and so with that in mind, it needs to be simple to navigate, with an easy-to-use interface. A great user experience is also going to keep your employees happy.
You want a system that everyone’s going to love using and that won’t cause more complications and stress. It’s worthwhile to have management systems that you can try out, perhaps selecting a group of regular travelers that can try out the platforms before committing to one fully.
With this initial research and trialling in place, you’ll find the right fit for your business.
AI Learning Travel Habits
Machine learning technology is becoming a lot more popular, just like automation has implemented itself in many areas of business. Having a travel management system that has AI technology could be useful when it comes to learning the company’s travel habits.
With this technology, it can quicken the booking process which makes it easier for your employees to book travel. Artificial intelligence is something that 86% of CEOs are saying will become the mainstream technology in office in 2021.
Technology proves to be advancing at a rapid rate and not embracing this particular technology could leave your business behind! Look out for more AI technology when shopping around for travel management tools.
Mobile Apps for Travelers On-the-go
Mobile apps have come a long way since the days of Blackberry and the Nokia 3410. Smartphones have evolved into mini desktop computers and as of July 2021, 49.71% of total web visits are currently mobile.
Therefore, it pays for these travel management platforms to make mobile-friendly sites or provide an app form of the tool. It’s also helpful for those employees that do a lot of their work remotely and need a system that they can access from wherever they are.
Before you go choosing a travel management tool, check that they offer some mobile app that you can download and trial beforehand. If they don’t offer an app, then there are plenty out there that already do.
Nowadays, it’s good to go for a tool that has an app as part of the package.
Expense Tools for Seamless Integration
Managing your travel expenses is good to keep within your company’s budget and your internal department’s individual budgets.
Having a management tool that integrates seamlessly with your expenses, can save a lot of admin on your employees’ part. You may find a system that offers its own expense system that you might find useful to transfer over to. However, if you are happy with your current expenses tool, then look for an external API that you can integrate easily.
Tracking expenses is definitely important as a business. It helps improve cash flow and will also allow your business travel to continue without any financial bumps in the road.
Finally, loyalty points are a great way to benefit from the money you spend on travel. A lot of airlines and accommodation companies will offer loyalty points or rewards schemes to help save you money and upgrade your client’s or employee’s experience.
For some travel companies that offer these loyalty points or rewards, they’ll usually require a business account for claiming them. With that said, it’s good to have a travel management system that will link to all those companies you regularly use for travel. That way, you can automatically claim any of those points or rewards that are available.
Never underestimate the benefits that loyalty schemes and points can bring. A lot of businesses will miss out on these for the sake of it lengthening the booking process. However, with the right management tool, it doesn’t need to be complicated.
There are lots of benefits that come with loyalty points and it can open up to new opportunities for your employees or alternatively, for impressing your clients.
A travel management tool can provide a lot of assistance for your business when booking travel both domestic and international.
Whatever size your business is, there are numerous benefits that can come from investing in this software.
Natalie Redman is a freelance writer with two years of copywriting experience. She has a wide range of experience copywriting for web pages across many industries. She’s also an owner of two blog websites and a Youtube content creator.