A framework for companies to unlock greater return on investment from business travel spend by adopting IT-enabled best practices is revealed in a new study commissioned by Amadeus.
The research by the London School of Economics, based on insight from senior executives from major international companies, explores how corporations can get a better understanding of its travel and expense (T&E) programmes, unlocking a greater return on investment in the process.
The managing every mile report claims that organisations can save money, increase employee satisfaction, and provide better duty of care for every mile travelled through proactive management of T&E, using best-practice processes and automated technology.
Key recommendations from the report include:
1. T&E programmes must align with strategic priorities across the business. The study identifies six strategic priorities to address T&E spend management – growth, cost minimisation, operational efficiency, employee productivity, risk mitigation and management information/analytics.
2. Two thirds of the executives interviewed said the expense process was a cause of both user frustration and clerical and managerial annoyance. The absence of best practices at earlier stages in the T&E process and notably in the booking and approval flows negatively affects the traveller’s experience and increases the complexity at the expense management stage.
3. More than half (60%) of executives interviewed were considering changes to their IT and T&E systems in the next one to three years to facilitate better T&E spend management as opposed to cost control strategies.
Amadeus global corporate solution sales and marketing chief Arlene Coyle, said: “Travelling for business is being transformed by major social, technological and economic drivers.
“We are seeing travellers’ needs, and the nature of the workplace, change in ways that require much greater dynamism and flexibility in travel management.”
She added: “While there is no one-size-fits-all solution, this study reveals multiple opportunities to enhance ROI from the T&E management process, particularly through greater use of technology.
“Also, by going beyond the actual cost of business travel and by looking at what travellers want, how the booking process needs to work and the effect of this on productivity and duty of care, corporations are able to better shape their travel programmes and create better journeys for their travellers.”
LSE media and communications department lecturer Dr Alexander Grous, author of the report, said: “Corporations need to implement a comprehensive framework for T&E spend management if they are to achieve maximum return on investment.
“The framework we have developed identifies five key stages, all of which are underpinned by technology – T&E strategic sourcing; T&E buying; traveller support and duty of care; expense management; and analytics and feedback.
“By following best practices at each of these stages, companies will secure optimised T&E spend management and ensure maximum return, while also driving greater operational effectiveness and employee satisfaction.”