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5 Quick Hacks to Streamline your Corporate Travel Budgets in 2024

Streamline Your Corporate Travel Budgets

Corporate travel is growing at the speed of the rocket. According to Deloitte, in the US alone, the international share of travel costs jumped from 21% in 2022 to 33% in 2023.  Airfares, hotel rates, and prices of car rentals are expected to go higher and are expected to reach fourfold by the end of 2024. 

As we stride into 2024, the landscape of corporate travel is evolving significantly. With technological advancements, shifting economic trends, and a growing emphasis on sustainability, managing corporate travel budgets has become more complex.

Organizations globally seek innovative ways to streamline their corporate travel expenses without compromising efficiency or comfort. If you’re a travel manager, navigating the intricacies of corporate mobility and optimizing your travel budget is crucial for financial health and operational success.

To assist you in this endeavor, we’ve curated five quick hacks tailored to the nuances of corporate travel in 2024.

5 Smart Ways to Maximize Efficiency in your Corporate Travel Expenses 

Here are some efficient ways to enhance your travel expenses budget:

1. Reduce Open Bookings

Open booking is a method where employees can book their travel arrangements directly with suppliers, such as airlines, hotels, and rental car agencies, instead of going through a designated travel agency or booking tool provided by the company. If you are a mid-market company, then it’s likely that employees directly visit airline and hotel websites to make their bookings. 

Although this gives employees flexibility and autonomy in managing their travel plans, they have no control over what is booked at what price. This poses challenges such as tracking and managing expenses, ensuring compliance with company policies and preferred suppliers, and maintaining visibility into travel spending for budgeting and reporting purposes. For travel managers and the finance department, the overflowing spreadsheets, sea of emails, and creating numerous expense reports, etc., can be quite taxing. 

Step-in centralized booking! Centralized booking streamlines and consolidates your organization’s entire business travel reservation process. With a centralized travel booking system, travel managers and company owners can negotiate better deals and get discounts with travel providers, leverage economies of scale, and enforce travel policies more effectively. This method eliminates redundancies, reduces the risk of errors, and provides a 360-degree view of your travel expenses

One platform that exemplifies the power of centralized booking is itilite. The company offers an advanced and robust solution for managing your business travel. It provides many benefits that improve your company’s business travel efficiency, enhance cost savings, and increase overall traveler satisfaction. 

2. Fine-tune Travel Policy

A corporate travel policy is a crucial framework for organizations, offering guidance and regulations for managing travel-related activities effectively. Beyond controlling costs by establishing budgetary guidelines and preferred vendors, a well-crafted travel policy ensures compliance with legal requirements, safeguarding against potential risks and promoting employee safety. 

However, sometimes, employees book flights and hotels at the last minute. Prices tend to increase as the departure date approaches, especially for flights and accommodations with limited availability. Last-minute bookings often result in higher fares and rates than those booked well in advance. This can lead to cost leakages and, in turn, affect your company’s bottom line. 

Hence, your company’s travel policy must be robust and fine-tuned to impart clarity to employees. It should equip companies with the means to regulate and supervise their business travel expenses systematically. The policy safeguards your company against excessive spending as a reference point for responsible financial decision-making.

In the policy, you can define clear rules and guidelines to reduce unnecessary spending on travel-related expenses, such as flights, accommodation, and meals. For example, the work travel policy must specify requirements for booking flights and accommodation in advance and guidelines for meal and entertainment expenses.Additionally, crafting the best travel policy can help you negotiate with hotels and airlines for better deals and discounts with preferred vendors.

Maximize Efficiency in Your Corporate Travel Expenses

3. Maximize Hotel Saving Opportunities

Hotel expenses frequently constitute a substantial proportion of overall business travel expenditures. Considering these expenses, exploring alternative, more cost-effective accommodation options than conventional hotels is essential. Choices such as corporate housing, Airbnb rentals, and Extended-stay America have become practical solutions for mitigating these costs.

Corporate housing, often fully furnished apartments or homes, offers a home-away-from-home experience for business travelers. Airbnb provides various accommodations, from private rooms to entire homes, tailored to different budgets and preferences. Extended-stay America, designed for longer-term stays, often provides more economical rates and amenities than traditional hotels. Sometimes, they also offer discounts and corporate deals, which help reduce corporate travel budgets. 

By embracing these alternatives, businesses can exercise greater control over accommodation expenses while ensuring the comfort and convenience of their traveling employees. This strategic approach to accommodation not only aids in reducing costs but also enhances the overall cost-effectiveness of business travel operations.

Suggested Read: 6 Benefits of Automating your Business Travel Operations

4. Data Analytics and Reports

One major reason for cost leakages is that organizations fail to examine their historical travel spending data. Companies need to analyze travel data to understand their expenses and patterns. If they do not, the lack of insight can lead to inefficient spending, with resources allocated to unnecessary or overly expensive travel arrangements. 

Ignoring business travel data and analytics can result in non-compliance with corporate travel policies. Travel managers and the finance department may need to be made aware of unauthorized bookings, excessive spending, or deviations from preferred vendors, leading to increased risks, inefficiencies, and potential policy violations.

Companies can significantly streamline corporate travel budgets by harnessing travel data and analytics. Analyzing historical booking data, spending patterns, and vendor performance allows organizations to identify cost-saving opportunities, such as negotiating better rates with preferred suppliers, optimizing travel itineraries to minimize expenses, and implementing policies to encourage cost-conscious behavior among employees. 

Furthermore, predictive analytics can help companies anticipate travel demand and pricing fluctuations, enabling them to make informed decisions to secure the best deals. With these insights, your company can streamline its travel procurement processes, identify inefficiencies, and eliminate wasteful spending, ultimately leading to substantial cost savings and improved financial performance. This proactive approach to travel management enhances the company’s bottom line and ensures that travel budgets are utilized more effectively. This helps maximize the value of every dollar spent on corporate travel.

5.Take Advantage of Travel & Payment Integrations

When companies neglect to leverage travel and payment integrations, they face a myriad of challenges and inefficiencies. Manual processes become the norm, leading to laborious tasks such as data entry, reconciliation, and expense tracking. This manual effort consumes valuable time and increases the likelihood of errors and administrative burdens. Moreover, the lack of real-time data visibility hampers the company’s ability to monitor travel spending, identify trends, and make informed decisions regarding cost-saving opportunities or policy compliance. 

Travel and payment integrations can save your company a significant amount of money. Leveraging business cards helps business owners and employees manage expenses and earn rewards simultaneously. When you or your employees make purchases using the business card, you receive a certain percentage of the transaction amount back as cashback. The more you spend, the more you earn. These cashbacks can be redeemed for various purposes, such as reducing your best cashback business card balance, receiving a check, or even applying them to certain expenses, like travel or office supplies.

Additionally, virtual cards also help your company prevent leakage, especially for hotel bookings. You can set spending limits, category restrictions, and other controls on virtual cards. Integrating these controls with expense management software enforces policy compliance and prevents overspending.

Also read: 7 Main Leakage Points in a T&E Process and How to Fix Them

The Best Way to Streamline Corporate Travel Budget is with itilite

  • Travel spending remains critical to corporate operations, but it doesn’t have to be a financial burden. 
  • By implementing the right steps, organizations can optimize and streamline their travel expenses. To fully optimize the corporate travel budget process, you should harness the power of technology through advanced travel management software solutions like itilite.
  • itilite provides a SaaS-based, all-in-one travel and expense management solution, offering tailored booking choices from a vast travel inventory. The integrated software can give you an eagle-eye view of your company’s travel spending based on employee level, department, destination, transport, etc.  
  • Additionally, our virtual consultant itilite Mastermind will help you identify cost-saving opportunities, thus ensuring better travel ROI for your company. 

Get a free demo of itilite to know more about our advanced features.

Discover a simpler way to manage corporate travel

Corporate travel management can be extremely daunting. Getting travelers to stick to budgets while booking travel, monitoring spends or finding support for travelers – there is always something that needs to be done. That’s why we built a solution that makes corporate travel management simpler.

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Simplify your travel and expense management process!

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