Enterprises outsource various business functions to external companies to save time and curtail costs. In addition to streamlining the business process, the third-party company helps them generate incremental revenue by focusing on core business activities.
Corporate travel management companies make it easier for enterprises to outsource a time-intensive and cost-intensive business process. They streamline the business travel management process by combining human intelligence and cutting-edge technologies.
Various roles of business travel management companies can be divided into two broad categories – helping employees accomplish business travel goals and helping employers control business travel costs. We can understand both these categories by discussing some of the most important roles of a travel management company in business travel.
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9 Most Important Roles of Corporate Travel Management Companies
1. Formulate and Enforce T&E Policies
No enterprise can control business travel costs without implementing and enforcing comprehensive travel and expense (T&E) policies. However, most companies lack the experience and expertise required to formulate effective T&E policies.
Corporate travel management companies help customers formulate comprehensive T&E policies by sharing information, best practices, and templates. Also, they ensure that employees understand and access organization T&E policies.
At the same time, they ensure policy compliance by booking the right flights, accommodations, car rentals, and other travel products. Hence, they play an important role in T&E policy implementation, communication, and enforcement.
2. Provide Pre-Trip Assistance
Many employees these days engage in business travel for the first time. At the same time, frequent business travelers visit new destinations regularly. They need information and assistance to plan business trips and make business travel itineraries.
Business travel management companies help employees create customized travel itineraries by sharing destination information and templates. Also, they make it easier for work travelers to procure or update important travel documents like passports, visas, and international driving licenses.
3. Simplify Business Travel Booking
Corporate travel management companies help customers centralize business travel booking. They deploy travel consultants who make business travel arrangements for employees. The consultants increase the experience and safety of employees by booking travel products according to their travel preferences and booking history.
At the same time, they help employees control costs by booking only in-policy travel products, prioritizing fully flexible tickets, and completing bookings early. They further cancel and reschedule bookings according to last-minute travel itinerary changes. Hence, it becomes easier for employees to engage in business travel without impacting their professional responsibilities.
4. Mitigate Business Travel Risks
While outsourcing business travel management, companies focus on helping employees mitigate common and unexpected travel risks. Corporate travel management companies meet this customer need by providing information and assistance to work travelers.
They deliver real-time information that helps employees manage flight delays, flight cancellations, and similar business travel risks. At the same time, they enable employees to get the required assistance and information by contacting travel consultants 24 hours a day by making a phone call or sending a message.
5. Meet Duty-of-Care Obligations
Companies have to meet their duty of care obligations by ensuring the safety and security of business travelers across locations. Corporate travel management companies help customers meet their legal obligations by providing emergency assistance to employees across business travel destinations.
Leading travel management companies partner with global health and security risk management firms. Also, they use tech tools to track the real-time location of each work traveler. Hence, it becomes easier for companies to meet their duty of care obligations without investing additional resources.
6. Simplify Travel Expense Management
Business travel management companies help customers streamline travel expense management efficiently. They submit consolidated expense reports that help the finance team reduce the number of expense claims to be processed and reimbursements.
Leading travel management companies further the finance team with robust expense management tools. Finance teams can use expense management software to track, review, and audit travel expenses without putting in extra time and effort.
7. Share Travel Data Reports and Insights
Companies need to understand and analyze T&E data to make informed financial decisions. They need reports generated using various business travel KPIs. Corporate travel management companies use sophisticated reporting tools to help customers get the desired report digitally.
Also, they use advanced analytics solutions to analyze the T&E data and gain actionable insights. The data-driven insights shared by them help enterprises find opportunities to control costs and boost the business travel experience of employees.
8. Facilitate T&E Management Automation
Automation is currently one of the hottest trends in business travel management. Some companies automate the complex process fully by implementing integrated T&E management software. At the same time, many companies streamline important steps in the process by implementing corporate booking software or expense management software.
Leading travel management companies help customers automate specific or all steps in the multistep process. Most of them boost T&E management software by including innovative features and using intelligence technologies.
9. Reduce Average Business Trip Costs
In addition to meeting the business travel needs of customers, corporate travel management companies help them reduce costs in several ways. For instance, they reduce the average business trip costs by booking travel products at lower than market rates, avoiding cancellation fees, and completing booking early.
At the same time, they enable customers to control costs by streamlining travel expense management. The data-driven reports and insights shared by them help companies increase the ROI of business travel by detecting new cost-saving opportunities regularly.
Corporate travel management companies help clients increase the ROI of business travel by providing a wide range of services and tech solutions. However, the roles of individual companies still differ according to travel management services and solutions provided by them.
For instance, some business travel management companies help customers streamline business travel booking and travel expense management. At the same time, leading companies facilitate end-to-end business process automation by providing integrated travel and expense management software.
Also, some corporate travel management companies stand out from competitors using Industry 4.0 technologies like artificial intelligence and data analytics. Hence, companies should define their needs clearly to evaluate business travel management companies based on their roles.