With the latest trends emerging in global travel, it's no surprise that CFOs are increasingly struggling to keep their corporate travel programs on budget. The 2019 Global Travel Forecast, authored by the Global Business Travel Association, projects that both average daily hotel rates and car rental prices will rise in the United States this year. In Asia, the report says, air travel costs will rise by 3.2% and hotels by 5.1%. In Europe, hotel occupancy is expected to reach an all-time high in most cities in 2019 - a fact that makes it even more difficult to find bookings within budget.
Increasing oil prices and downward pressure on the U.S. dollar are additional factors that will drive up the cost of air and ground transportation in 2019 and impact the purchasing power of American companies.
Despite these challenges, CFOs have an excellent opportunity to save millions of dollars on travel and accommodations programs through corporate travel booking programs. These programs combine the latest software technologies and innovations in user experience design to streamline the travel booking process, promoting efficiency and compliance in corporate travel and driving digital transformation at the organizational level.
How to Save Millions with Corporate Booking Programs
Corporate travel booking programs are helping CFOs address their biggest challenges in corporate travel, including:
How can we streamline our travel management process and make it easier for our travelers to get where they need to go?
How can we reduce spending on travel, even in the face of rising business travel costs worldwide?
How can we ensure compliance with our corporate travel policy, even across thousands of individual journeys?
How can we digitize our travel management program and connect it with our other digital systems (expenses, calendars, etc.)?
Keep reading to find out how today's most innovative travel booking programs are helping CFOs drive down business travel costs, increase compliance with corporate travel policies and propel digital transformation.
Increase Operational Efficiency and Reduce Costs
With the rising cost of global travel, it's more important than ever that organizations seek to tighten their belts and control costs where possible, especially in corporate travel. At the same time, we're seeing a greater volume of business travel than ever before, which means more booking requests, more expense reports, more reimbursement and more paperwork for corporate travel managers and their staff.
Corporate travel booking software offers a solution that increases the efficiency of travel bookings and reduces costs, even when your company travels more than ever before.
With applications like Deem Mobile, corporate travel managers are empowered to set specific guidelines for employee travel bookings based on company travel policy. In turn, travelers can access itinerary options directly on their mobile phone and make a policy-compliant booking in seconds, removing the need for continuous communication with an in-office travel manager or travel booking department.
Improve Travel Policy and Legal Compliance
As your corporate travel program grows in size, cost reduction can become a growing area of concern. Many organizations implement a corporate travel policy as a means of standardizing the corporate travel policy and achieving cost reductions by placing restrictions on the types of bookings that are acceptable and the types of expenses that the company is willing to reimburse.
A corporate travel policy can be an effective cost-reduction tool, but only when the policy is strictly adhered-to by employees and adequately enforced by a corporate travel manager. For this reason, most organizations establish a travel department, headed by a travel manager, whose mandate is to organize the company's travel arrangements in compliance with the stated travel policy. In this model, employees go through the travel department for all of their booking needs. More than 40% of companies use a costly and inefficient manual approval process to ensure compliance.
Today, CFOs are using corporate booking programs to standardize compliance within their booking process. When a traveler makes a booking through the Deem Work Fource platform, compliance with corporate travel policy is already assured, as the available itineraries are presented through a customized filter that omits non-compliant options.
CFOs in some industries may also have a need to standardize their revenue recognition according to the new ASC 606 revenue recognition standard. Under the standard, companies may face additional requirements to match up their revenue and billing intake with the performance of obligations, including travel and related expenses, for specific customers - a significant data management and reporting challenge for which no clear solution yet exists. Still, organizations can face massive fines from the United States Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) for misreporting, so there is an immediate need for organizations to push for compliance.
Corporate booking programs are helping CFOs address these compliance and reporting requirements by increasing the visibility of travel bookings and making it easier to oversee compliance with legal and internal policy requirements.
Use Automation to Accelerate Your Digital Transformation
Digital transformation refers to the novel or innovative use of digital technology to solve traditional problems, especially in the business or corporate context. In the past few decades, we've seen increased digitization in areas like accounting and supply chain management. For organizations in the process of digital transformation, corporate booking programs offer a suite of innovative features that integrate successfully with other aspects of your digital operations.
For starters, employees can book travel directly on their mobile phones with minimal oversight or manual intervention. Applications like Deem Work Fource offer full and automatic integration with your employee's preferred scheduling tools, such as Exchange Server, LDAP, iCal and Google Calendar. With this feature travel bookings and changes are embedded automatically and in real-time whenever an itinerary change is made. Deem Open Expense makes it easy for CFOs to integrate their travel data with any expense platform, streamlining the documentation and review process for travel expense reports.
Despite the challenges that CFOs are facing when it comes to managing their travel budgets, corporate booking programs offer a simplified path to increased efficiency, reduced costs, streamlined compliance and digital transformation for organizations.
A streamlined booking process with fewer steps, reductions in manual processes, simplified compliance with legal and internal travel policy requirements and integration with internal and external digital systems are just a few reasons why CFOs should be looking at corporate booking programs as an opportunity to elevate the performance of their corporate travel programs in 2019.