Research from The London School of Economics and Political Science has offered corporations a framework to unlock greater ROI from business travel in order to ‘manage every mile’ travelled for work.
The study was commissioned by Amadeus through LSE Consulting, and insights are drawn from C-level executives from major international corporations around the world.
Arlene Coyle, CCO Corporate Solution Sales and Marketing of Business Travel, Amadeus, commented: “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.”
“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.”
Travel is often at the heart of many businesses, independent of size or sector. This is because business leaders know the inherent value of getting out of the office and meeting people face-to-face, despite the cost. The challenge now is to quantify the value of travel to ensure that organisations and travellers can make the most of their investment.
The research revealed that through proactive management of T&E, using best-practice processes and automated technology, organisations can save money, increase employee satisfaction, and provide better duty of care for every mile travelled.
T&E programmes must align with strategic priorities across the business: The study identified six strategic priorities to address T&E spend management: Growth, cost minimisation, operational efficiency, employee productivity, risk mitigation and management information/analytics.
The priorities tended to reflect functional roles, but executives agreed that only when all goals are aligned, companies can make the most of their business travel investment.
Expense is not the only means of managing travel requirements: 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.
Technology has a vital role to play in facilitating best practice T&E management: Executives clearly understand the transformative role technology plays in maximising T&E functionality.
Around 60% of executives interviewed were considering changes to their IT and T&E systems in the next 1-3 years to facilitate better T&E spend management as opposed to cost control strategies.
Dr Alexander Grous, Lecturer in the Department of Media and Communications at LSE, and the report’s author, 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.”