Travel Expense Management with Open Expense Alliance

June 3, 2020

As travel and expense management has become more automated and less paper driven, we’ve seen an increased interest in travel and expense platforms working together. This makes sense: There is value to having that frictionless connection between the two applications, where a traveler’s expense report or e-wallet is auto-populated when a traveler books a trip.

There are several ways to have highly effective travel and expense platforms work together. Frequently, we see one company offering both as a way to streamline and optimize the whole process. However, we believe this single company integration is not the best option for customers.

What’s a bundled travel expense management platform?

It’s difficult for one company to develop great platforms for both travel and expense; they are two different applications with two different missions. Rather, we recommend you think in terms of bundling. Similar to telephone-internet-cable services that U.S. telecom companies offer, the bundling we’re talking about combines a best-in-class expense platform with a best-in-class travel platform created by a different company. Businesses can choose the best expense management platform for their needs from any provider. They can also choose an intuitive, flexible, and reliable travel platform that seamlessly integrates with the expense platform, like Deem. This is the best way to get a complete solution that will optimize both travel and expense spend.

Open Expense Alliance bundles the Deem travel platform with many of the largest expense management products – probably even the one you use right now. That means no change in workflow, systems, or moving to a less effective expense product with integrated travel. Because of Open Expense, travelers can simply book their travel through Deem and be assured that trip information is automatically shared with the company’s expense platform.

When travelers can finish a portion of their expense reports before they even leave for their trip, they’re getting back the time they’d have spent on expense reports, allowing them to be more productive. And the seamless connection means travelers don’t need to remember yet another username and password – frustration avoided! With more time available to them, travelers can focus on more important things, like following up on that new business deal when they get back to the office. They won’t waste time struggling with learning an entirely new system or hunting down receipts.

For companies, an integrated system does improve data accuracy on both the amount charged and who is charging the company. But, a dedicated travel component is better equipped to offer more detailed information on travel, and the same is true for most expense-only platforms. With more travel and expense data, a company can more efficiently track travelers for their safety, track policy adherence, and gain deeper insights into their travel spend, which is often one of the largest expenses for a business. When one company is trying to do both travel and expense, typically one part of the equation suffers from de-prioritization.

Four benefits of a bundled travel and expense solution

Overall, a bundled solution offers the best of both worlds. Travel managers can get a better view of travel spend for the company and individual spend for the traveler. Let’s look at how a bundled solution improves employee engagement, increases employee productivity, controls travel costs, and improves operational efficiency.

Improve Employee Engagement

Business travelers have come to expect consumer-like simplicity, choice, and flexibility when using travel and expense solutions. When these solutions don’t “talk” to each other, there is a larger instance of non-compliance with travel policy and lower adoption of a booking tool. This can be immensely costly in hours it takes to resolve issues and the associated lost productivity, the reduction in employee satisfaction, and ultimately, creating a negative business impact. We often see a heightened level of workforce engagement when organizations bring their employees an intuitive travel booking experience that is integrated with their expense solution, especially when the platforms include better booking options and support.

Increase Employee Productivity

Companies are challenged to find frictionless processes that keep employees happy and ready to achieve a higher performance. Inefficiencies occur for travelers when they return home and are ready to file their expense report, but the travel and expense platforms aren’t bundled. Loss of employee productivity results in traveler frustration, program leakage, and potentially lost revenue opportunities. Using unproductive legacy solutions puts your business at risk of being outpaced by peers who are leveraging newer solutions and services. Bundled solutions mean faster performance – travel booking information flows directly into the expense tool, saving travelers time to focus on other, higher-value activities.

Control Travel Costs

For companies seeking to have visibility into and control of air, ground, hotel, and rail spend, leakage is not merely frustrating, it can have serious financial consequences. Companies are not able to leverage negotiated rates and rebates as effectively due to lack of spend visibility and tracking. Many companies cannot meet commitments for contract volumes and rebate thresholds due to leakage. This prevents them from maximizing their discounts. On average, companies have a 20% greater adoption of their solution when they have a bundled, end-to-end travel and expense solution. This helps them know they’re meeting commitments for contract volumes and rebate thresholds, ultimately impacting their bottom-line profits.

Improve Operational Efficiency

Legacy and manual approaches waste time and create more work for travel managers and employees. Inflexible tools, opaque processes, and lack of on-demand support mean travelers are seeing a negative impact on their productivity. Processes that digitally connect suppliers, customers, and assets are creating unique and unheralded efficiencies and customer value. Tying systems together to increase compliance, increase visibility, take advantage of automation, and reduce costs is a better way.

Deem, bundled with the right expense platform for your business, can effectively manage your organization’s travel spend. Bundling ensures a best-in-class solution that drives compliance and user satisfaction.

For more information on Deem Open Expense Alliance and how to bundle your travel expense management solutions, email us at openexpense@deem.com.

Author

Pete Solomon
Sr. Director, Strategic Alliances

Pete Solomon is the Senior Director of Alliance Partners at Deem, the online booking solution for corporate travel. Pete is a business development and partnership professional, helping companies develop and execute strategies to accelerate growth.

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