How much will automation change the landscape of corporate travel?

From the way we communicate and learn to the way we work and our daily choices, our societies are now underpinned by automated processes. Efficiency and fluidity are everything. Modern corporate travel is no different. Previously business trips relied largely on traditional travel agencies or tour operators and could be a bumpy, stressful ride. Thanks to a revolution in the way we book travel products, today’s business traveler has come to expect a smooth, streamlined experience, one that is augmented by intuitive, easy-to-use software solutions. What’s more, forward-thinking companies are discovering that automation can reduce many back-office tasks, saving time and money while unlocking new opportunities for growth. But just how much will automation change the landscape of corporate travel? And how easy is it to implement?

Let’s examine the effect of automation on business travelers and break down the key benefits of incorporating the latest travel software into your corporate travel program.

1. Optimized cost-efficiency

Before any shiny, new system can claim to have revolutionized an industry, it has to fulfill its main function. Has it saved on costs? For a business to overhaul its approach and refurbish its existing systems is a big step. Setting up automated workflows in certain areas of a company can be costly and take time initially, but in the long term, it’s worth it when it becomes clear that it will save costs and transform a business. Automation can save companies between 40-70%, with payback ranging from several months to several years. Basic automation: saving time and reducing human errors A machine can carry out high-volume, basic mundane tasks far quicker than a human and with a far greater degree of accuracy. The time spent on administrative tasks, such as searching for the best routing and travel packages, ensuring loyalty program details are added to bookings, generating travel spend reports, and analyzing expenditure, can be streamlined while avoiding costs of errors and inaccuracies. Satisfied workers There’s nothing fun about searching and sifting through masses of mundane data, so why not let the machines do the number crunching? An automated corporate travel process streamlines everything, from booking a trip and collating expenses from providers to analyzing yearly statistics.

2. Crystal clear travel policy

Historically, a company travel policy has always been a hard sell. Travel policies of the past were large, dull documents to be avoided at all costs. However, automation has changed this for good. An intuitive travel policy that works for both the business and the traveler is essential. With more and more tech-savvy millennials in the workplace, creating a trust-based culture in which employees are empowered to take control of their travel bookings is the way forward. With a comprehensive travel management solution like Air retailer, travel managers can  integrate corporate policies to automate approvals and guarantee compliance. In minutes parameters can be established that can save both time and money. By automatically approving itineraries that fall within company guidelines, managers are free to spend time on more crucial tasks, and business travelers can secure the best rate without risking price increases while they wait for the green light.

3. Improved experience for business travelers

Today’s business traveler demands an interesting travel experience. They don’t want a trip that strips them of their enthusiasm for their career – they want to learn, to experience new things and to make connections. Above all, they want to feel valued. This is why automation is a vital component of the modern corporate travel experience. Empowering a business traveler by giving them control of their own trip, from booking travel and accommodation to finding their ideal downtime activities, is the best way for a company to show how much they value their talent.

4. Increased focus on sustainable corporate travel

Understandably pressure is growing for companies to take a more sustainable approach when it comes to all aspects of their business. When it comes to corporate travel, carbon emissions are another factor employees must justify when booking their business trips.

5. Safety and security

In today’s world, safety and security have never been so important. Businesses have a duty of care towards their travelers, and risk management is a vital part of any travel management strategy. Investing in a comprehensive duty of care solution can level up the support your business travelers receive on the road. With an  advanced risk assessment system, organizations can benefit from pre-departure reporting that flags potential safety concerns or travel restrictions and insights into COVID-19 transmissions to help employees make more informed decisions at the booking stage. We all know how fast things can change. When employees are traveling for work, management needs to track their whereabouts and ensure they are updated with any changes.

6. Expense management simplified

With corporate travel automation, the issue of expenses is transformed immeasurably. For many, what was previously a nightmare has turned into a smooth, painless process. Historically, travel and expense costs have been one of the hardest to keep under control in the business space. Outdated budgeting systems and lost confirmations and receipts made it near impossible to keep track of the cost of employee travel, wasting both time and money. With an automated system, employees can track spending in real-time and access their travel spending reports from one location. Giving business travelers the reigns and implementing a self-booking system simplifies expense management and frees up a lot of time in many business areas. For finance teams, an automated corporate travel process is a huge weight off the shoulders.