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What business really wants in technology for their travel program 

Ingrid Picard

Managing Director - Corporations, Amadeus

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According to a recent study, the world’s biggest companies believe that getting the right technology in three keys areas is vital to get the most return on their travel investment.

The heads of the world’s biggest companies believe that getting the right technology in three keys areas is vital to get the most return on their travel investment.  

Some of the world’s largest corporations including Google, Vodafone and Accenture were interviewed for the study Managing Every Mile, commissioned by Amadeus. 

While different priorities were identified from executive management (growth for CEO; efficiency and cost for CFO/CPO; people for CHR; and risk management and cost for CIO), most agreed that upgrading their Travel and Expense (T&E) IT systems is essential. 

The study revealed 60% are considering changes to their systems in the next one to three years. And topping their IT wishlists centred on three main areas of corporate travel management. 

 1. Improved booking capability: 

Being able to book corporate travel on a mobile device is top priority for 94% of executives, with 85% of employees currently using their mobiles to manage some aspect of their travel. 

The second most-requested booking feature (88%) is the ability to receive automated alerts if savings are going to be lost. A third of CxOs also want functionality to be able to integrate the company’s CRM into the booking process.  

Nearly two-thirds of CxOs want IT technology to help capture out-of-program travel bookings. Although the research shows that this approach is a workaround to compensate for a lack of best practices applied earlier on in the T&E management process. 

2. Better expense management: 

Being able to access granular expense detail is a problem for many. So it was no surprise 70% of CxOs identified the ability to extract deeper levels of detail when it came to expense management. This includes being able to segment and search expenses via defined criteria, such as compliant and non-compliant travel, employee names and travel routes. 

The ability to pull and analyse expense data is considered equally as important, with more than half of CFOs revealing their teams are currently pulling expense reports manually – an incredibly labour-intensive task. As one CFO said: “It takes us hours each month to pull together expense detail. We then need to create separate files for different execs and other areas, and the information isn’t even that detailed.”  

Also high on the wishlist (59%) is the ability to upload expenses from mobile devices. CFOs, in particular, believe the mobile scan-and-send of expenses could cut processing and transaction cost, reduce fraud and improve feedback loops. 

3. Greater analytics and reporting: 

Most CxOs believe better technology will help drive a granular review of costs, the ability to easily identify behaviour that needs attention, and automate feedback loops to optimise return on investment. 

As one CFO put it: “I want to know what we are really saving by seeing my spend against the savings the travel company, or my travel department, claim are being made.”  

Also sought after is technology that captures out-of-policy travel before it occurs (53%) and enables a higher duty of care through the issuing of travel alerts (41%). 

Half of all respondents want to see IT-enabled reports and alerts occurring in real-time, particularly the ability to see cumulative spend versus savings by category. Also of importance (41%) is the ability to report on a cost centre’s travel spend against budget.  

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