Travel management software is used for booking and managing travel arrangements online for business purposes, as well as to track and report previous trips. These tools allow companies to enforce and track their travel policies and consolidate travel invoices for expense and reporting purposes.
Companies use this software to simplify purchasing decisions, centralize records of employee travel expenses, and control corporate travel budgets. Travel management solutions provide users with a tool for booking and automatically reporting their travel purchases, rather than using individual agents or submitting self-purchased receipts to an expense management product. Both small businesses and enterprise companies can benefit from using travel management software.
Employees at companies that don’t use travel management software have traditionally booked travel for businesses through a website or travel agency, then submitted an expense form to be reimbursed. The new way, for organizations of any size, is for employees to book travel themselves using travel management software that already includes the company travel policy and approval workflows. This software also includes company payment details so the employee can pay for the travel without reimbursement, and the company is able to easily track their spend for reporting reasons.
Enterprise travel management software is often included in a larger suite of business tools or offered as a standalone product that has the option to integrate with other travel management tools, such as expense management software. Enterprise software can sometimes be compared to modernized online versions of travel agencies.
SMB travel management software tends to be more user friendly and is relatable to consumer mobile apps, especially on the booking side. Similar to traditional enterprise options, travel platforms designed for SMBs tend to integrate with other corporate tools, such as expense management and mileage tracking software.
The ideal travel management platform should manage the entire process, from booking travel, to expense submission, to reporting.
1. Interactive booking interface : Employees are able to find the best inventory and rates on an easy-to-use interface. They can book travel on behalf of a colleague or for themselves, which includes saved travel details, payment methods, loyalty programs, travel preferences, and more.
2. Company guideline filters : This feature allows companies to control the travel options available by filtering listed prices that fall within their company’s guidelines. This helps teams stay within budget and in compliance.
3. Calendar and scheduling coordination : Calendar and scheduling coordination is an important feature because it allows other team members to plan their travel if necessary. It gives managers the ability to track their employees’ whereabouts, and plan meetings and calls around their travel schedules.
4. Expense capture, submission, and tracking : Many travel management platforms have the functionality for travel employees to digitally import and submit receipts for reimbursement. This feature allows them to track the progress of their submissions so they know when they’ll be reimbursed.
5. Reporting : Employees can create and submit expense reports through the software, as well as view past reports and expenses. Managers use the reporting feature to track their team’s travel budget and forecast future spend.
Travel management software can make the entire booking process easier and more efficient for users by housing all of the steps in the process in one platform.
1. Creates a comprehensive interaction booking interface : Employees are able to search, compare, and book travel directly through an interface, either for themselves or for another employee within their company. This interface can also save travel preferences, loyalty programs, and payment methods all in one place.
2. Integrates corporate travel policies to automate compliance : The ability to integrate corporate travel policy directly into travel management software reduces travel spend by helping teams meet spend and budget objectives. These policies help to clarify the types of expenses employees can claim, refuses to reimburse travelers for claims that aren’t compliant, and allows travel managers to make sure their team is optimizing their budget and staying within company policy guidelines. The automation of company policy enforcement also ensures no fraudulent expenses are accidentally submitted and approved.
3. Incorporates expense management tools : Expense management tools help managers and accounting teams by categorizing expenses that more accurately organize and optimize the tracking of travel costs. These tools manage the approval workflow for travel expenses to be processed and reimbursed, as well as analyze large amounts of expense transactions that can be used to forecast future spend and create budgets.
4. Enhances reporting capabilities : Reporting tools in travel management software improve data-driven decisions and make travel management more effective overall. These tools help to identify noncompliant expenses or bookings more quickly and can recommend actions that can be taken to improve future results. Reporting also manages travel programs more effectively by monitoring travelers and identifying ways to save money.