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Travel & Expense Purchase Card

Are Business Travelers Really Using Sharing Economy Apps to Evade Corporate Policy?

on June 02, 2015

The Financial Review article, “Business travellers use apps like Uber to escape bean counters - but the bosses are still watching” is a great example of the mismatch between the headline writer and the author, which in journalism is often two different people.  In this case, author Jad Mouawad discusses the differences between leisure and business travelers that inevitably result from the differences in who is paying the bills. Mouawad doesn’t say anything about travelers using Uber to escape corporate scrutiny.  Rather, he uses Uber and Airbnb as examples of apps that increase productivity, reduce stress, and otherwise make traveling more enjoyable. But alas, negativity in the headline is often much better “click bait.”

That said, Mouawad focuses on the lack of integration between corporate travel programs and mobile applications that are widely available from more “personal travel” providers.  In fact, integrated travel and expense solutions like Concur and the dozens of Concur travel management company (TMC) partners who leverage the Concur Travel solution do an excellent job of integrating popular mobile apps into the corporate travel program.  Uber and Airbnb are both integrated with Concur Expense so that Uber rides and Airbnb rooms booked on their respective apps and paid using the company card are automatically captured into Concur Expense. How’s that for moving into the 21st century?

Similarly, integrations like the Oversight Insights On Demand™ Concur Connector (say that ten times fast!) allows for all Concur Expense transactions to be seamlessly acquired and analyzed by Insights On Demand to determine compliance with corporate travel policy.  This allows for companies to capture and report on both TMC and open bookings in one place, so they can easily determine where policies may have been violated, when preferred providers and/or negotiated rates were not used, and calculate total expenditures by provider regardless of booking method.  Insights On Demand customers tell us that automatically monitoring and analyzing 100% of their expense transactions helps travelers adapt to new paradigms while maintaining a low-cost compliance program, but with high level of monitoring.

Contrary to the headline, Uber is not a rogue app used by clever travelers to evade the notice of travel managers.  And thanks to IOD, corporate travelers don’t have to travel without the advantages leisure travelers enjoy. Now all travelers (regardless of who’s paying) can travel efficiently while reducing stress and still use their favorite apps.