The Essential Guide to Controlling Business Travel Costs

with Corporate Travel Management Software
“Cost is a major factor for travel sourcing managers. The challenge for travel procurement is to balance cost control without negatively impacting the traveler experience or traveler safety.”
A Deem-supported GBTA survey from 2022 validates IDC’s claim, showing that implementing cost controls while providing a great traveler experience creates serious challenges for travel managers. The survey found only 31% of travel managers say that cost containment is their travel program’s greatest strength, and nearly a third (32%) of travel managers are unsure of how well they’re controlling travel program costs. Regarding traveler experience, only 13% of travel managers rank this as the top strength of their program.
So, how can travel managers achieve their goals of both controlling travel and expense (T&E) costs and providing a positive experience for travelers? Let’s explore how travelers and the Deem travel technology solution have evolved to make it easier.
Less than a third of travel managers say that cost containment is their travel program’s greatest strength.
GBTA Survey: The Dawn of the Employee-Centric Travel Program?

Corporate travel software and travelers

In the last five years, travelers and the way they book their business trips have changed. No longer needing to be forced into booking submission, travelers now independently seek out trips at lower prices. They’re comfortable with booking travel online—they do it for themselves all the time.

In fact, 50% of travelers surveyed in our GBTA survey said they prefer to book their business trips themselves, using an online booking tool. And the better information they have at just the right point in the booking flow, the more they can make the best decisions for themselves and their companies.
Travelers and travel managers win when they have Deem as their corporate travel software. Travel programs no longer solely rely on command-and-control structures for travelers to achieve compliance. With Deem, we guide them down the right path when it comes to booking business travel. We empower travelers with information and lead them to choices that are within policy—and require explanations when they aren’t—in an intuitive and effortless platform they love using.

For travel managers, Deem is flexible. Travel managers have the ability to adjust policy controls as needed for any number of unique user types, to accommodate both travelers and their company’s financial goals in whatever economic conditions they find themselves in.

With Deem business travel software, travel managers get high adoption rates and compliance in a powerful corporate travel management tool that helps control costs. That makes their corporate finance teams happy, too.

See what Deem does to help your travelers be in control of their business trips while you remain in control of their costs.

1. Encourage savings

Travel and expense management is never easy. Prices for flights change continually and rapidly. To help you get the best prices despite airfare volatility, Deem uses Google ITA search for flights. ITA software was built specifically to address the issue of finding the best prices for flights.

Travelers are savvy shoppers when it comes to booking trips. Deem offers filters to help them shop smarter for their travel needs. Can they fly into any of the multiple airports in their destination city? Travel managers can determine whether alternate airports should be considered as part of the lowest fare measure.

Deem's custom alternate airports feature can make it even easier: If they need to be between two major cities, Deem can be configured to show flight options for both cities so travelers don’t have to do another search to compare flights and prices.

Or, can they add a stop on one or more segments? Travelers know these details can help them reduce costs and Deem has lots of ways to help them stay within your company’s budget.

Other ways Deem helps:
  • Technology-first: By making use of an easy, intuitive tool like Deem, companies save significantly by not having travelers need to call an agent for help, which can be much more expensive. Travelers can book and manage nearly everything about their trips themselves, through desktop or mobile devices.
  • Pre-trip approvals: Travel managers can choose to make all trips actionable or only receive notifications on trips. Settings can be more or less restricted, helping manage trips in the way that best fits your needs.
  • Policy controls: Deem’s flexibility means that policy controls can also be expanded or restricted as needed, using our single site builder functionality. Policy controls can vary by user type and even by route.

2. Maintain negotiated rates

Most travel managers are familiar with negotiating rates with suppliers to keep costs low. But being successful with obtaining and maintaining discounted rates requires some action on your part: you’ve got to have travelers adopt your company’s program and preferred partners. When they do, travel managers get better data and can negotiate better rates. Here’s how Deem helps:

  • User experience: Deem was created using a human-centered design approach. This makes Deem intuitive to use, and as easy (or easier!) than many consumer apps travelers use in their personal lives. In fact, Deem routinely wins awards for its user experience. Because Deem feels familiar, looks beautiful, and is robust enough to book and manage even complex trips, travelers want to use Deem. So they’re happy to stay on platform.
  • Content sources: Travel managers can provide travelers more options when they can include preferred vendors, Southwest Direct Access (SDA) and low-cost carriers, and Booking.com into their programs. So if travelers need that one hotel near corporate headquarters that’s only available through Booking.com, for example, they can still get there through Deem. It’s all in one platform for them.
  • Policy indicators: Deem uses visual indicators to help guide travelers to stay in policy. These nudges include use of color, as in EcoCheck, where selecting a flight with fewer carbon emissions results in bright green and white images, or dull gray for flights with more CO2 emissions.

    Visual indicators also include dynamic site messaging (DSM), a powerful and contextual way to identify the benefits of booking with preferred suppliers showing in their search results. If travelers select flights that aren’t in policy, Deem will identify that choice as out of policy and also recommend alternate options that are within policy.

3. Address travel loyalty programs

Travelers often want to book directly with suppliers so they can collect points to apply to upgrades. When travelers book directly your market share commitments are not met, even if travelers book your preferred airlines. This jeopardizes your ability to maintain or increase company discounts.

This can also mean travelers spend more than necessary when they book their travel. It can even drive them off platform entirely, costing travel managers visibility and control of spending.

But Deem stores all of your travelers’ loyalty memberships and applies them to trips. This makes it even easier for your team—they don’t have to search for long rewards numbers or worry about incorrect manual entries that might cost them points. Travelers always keep their rewards and travel managers get better compliance.

4. Recoup unused airline tickets

The pandemic caused a deluge of unused tickets. Airlines allowed companies to recover the cost, but companies can lose out when unused tickets are difficult to track. Enter Automatic Ticket Exchange in Deem.

Other platforms require travelers to call their TMC to use those credits. That typically translates into higher fares plus higher transaction fees. But Deem lets travelers know if they have unused tickets as they’re booking their trips and automatically applies the credit to the new trip only when it can be used for the new itinerary.

Travelers don’t have to make any extra effort and the company potentially saves millions of dollars per year.

5. Reveal more ground travel expenses

Today, when travelers book directly with ground suppliers, the expense is hidden until after the money is spent and after the travel manager gets their data. Now throw in last-minute ride hailing expenses, and you’re creating a complex arena for travel expenses that can potentially be time consuming and frustrating to unravel. And that’s for each traveler in your program. For companies with mature travel programs, especially, ground travel is a top area to examine to uncover savings.

Ride hail was the most expensed item in business travel in 2019. It’s a popular and often efficient mobility option, but it stays hidden from travel managers until after the trip is completed and expensed. Deem brings this mobility demand to light with a first-of-its-kind travel platform integration with Uber for Business.

Now travel managers can better track spending and traveler mobility needs. Not to mention provide better duty of care, knowing where and when travelers are in a private vehicle. 

5. Build fewer sites: Single Site Builder

Travel programs can get very complex and Deem’s competitors are built to make companies build and pay for separate sites around many different business rules, including user group/type, integrating unique content, policy, payment, messaging, custom fields, and more.

We believe travel technology should work for you and make your job as uncomplicated as possible. So, Deem’s site structure allows you to build everything on a single site. This means you’ll avoid the costly implementation and maintenance fees of supporting multiple, independent booking environments.

Travel managers can also set permissions for each traveler type from just one place, to govern the booking options each group has. You can choose to show travelers, by group or even individually, only preferred hotels or multiple options of categories, for instance. Car types can be limited as well as fare types for flights.

There are also rules that can be applied, so travelers can see only the lowest fares, or maybe preferred suppliers first. These controls and more are applied in one site, for any or all of your groups, and makes managing permissions for travelers simple and efficient. It helps keep more infrequent travelers from overbooking and over spending, while allowing different rules and spending caps for others, like VIPs and executives.

6. What does sustainability mean in technology?

Corporate finances are already being impacted by sustainability measures, leaving travel managers with even more new challenges, that is, both providing sustainable options for travelers as well as managing regulatory compliance as it keeps evolving. One of the best ways to optimize travel procurement is by “integrating sustainability and responsible sourcing metrics,” according to the IDC study.

That same report also shows that “more than 80% [of survey participants] feel that incorporating responsible source principles will have a significant impact on procurement, including travel content and travel service providers.”

So, how can travel managers balance sustainability goals with procurement goals? By starting with EcoCheck, the feature in the Deem travel management software that provides carbon emissions data where travelers need it most—right in the app as they’re booking trips.

EcoCheck doesn’t just show travelers an ambiguous number the way some platforms do. It provides context that travelers can easily understand, such as, a flight is X% higher or lower than average for a certain route. It also shows equivalencies, for example, the amount of CO2 is equivalent to the amount of carbon that can be captured by X number of tree seedlings in their first 10 years.

For hotels, EcoCheck provides scores for both the location average and the selected hotel, as well as any eco-certifications from independent organizations the hotel may have. It also uses visual nudges to shape traveler behavior, with options that create lower emissions shown in green and other colors, but travel that is higher in emissions  shown in gray. It’s a subtle but effective way to create more awareness and encourage more responsible traveler choices.

7. Increase adoption

Travelers prefer consumer booking platforms—they’re fast, intuitive to use, and consumers sometimes believe they can get better prices. They also see all trip results, with no one prioritizing suppliers or options based on unknown-to-them biases. But when travelers go off-platform, duty of care is harder or impossible to provide because you don’t know where travelers are.

This is why we made Deem a traveler-centric booking platform. When travelers get the information and features they need combined with the beautiful and intuitive platform they want, they have less reason to go off platform and travel managers get higher adoption rates.

Deem is so traveler friendly because we talked to travelers and travel managers to find out their priorities before we built the platform. Our research is part of our human-centered design approach. With that data, we knew to make Deem accessible (with WCAG 2.0 AA compliance), elegant, and with information built in right where travelers need it most, that is, within the booking process.
In addition to higher adoption rates reported by customers, our efforts are frequently recognized with leading awards for user experience, diversity and inclusion, and business and mobile applications. Beyond that, we’re proud of our awards, the positive relationships we build and maintain with our customers and partners, and also our response to the global pandemic in helping keep travelers safer during challenging times.
An aggressive command-and-control approach to travel policy can actually dissuade travelers from using your program. Too much friction in booking will encourage them to call an agent, which increases costs. By providing flexibility and guiding travelers to choices that are within policy, in an intuitive and effortless platform, travelers feel appreciated and empowered. 

Deem helps keep travelers in compliance, your budgets under control, and the joy in travel.

More Benefits

Integrate your travel management software with the expense platform your company needs

Track spending and improve forecasting

Minimize fraud

Maintain road warrior happiness with mobile-first and intuitive trip-booking technology

Make travel easier for everyone — Deem’s accessibility features meet the AA-level guidelines established by the Worldwide Web Consortium

Future-proof your corporate travel tech with the most innovative platform available

Recent awards at Deem

Recent awards at Deem

Decades of expertise, best-in-class solution.

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