A recent Fast Company article by Kim Goodwin forecasted what business travel will look like in 2014. The writer keenly noted: “One trend that was abundantly clear this year was that the race to address the goals of both the business traveler and the corporate travel manager has put business travel tools in a new technology class.”
From what we see in our first-hand experience working with T&E managers and those in corporate travel management, the wide range of increasingly sophisticated technologies embraced by business travelers of all ages will definitely drive new approaches for business travel tools and business travel management. The advent of mobile applications and open bookings means the travel manager’s absolute control over transactions is decreasing. Travelers have more discretion and travel management will have to embrace a “trust but verify” approach to manage expenses.
Because transactions are initiated and/or modified through a wide range of applications that means the data is also being generated in a wide range of places. There’s no system-generated report that can provide appropriate verification that the travel transactions are consistent with company policy.
Independent analysis is a new class of technology that is being embraced by leading travel managers to verify travelers’ compliance. Data can be consolidated from multiple systems and the transactions can be analyzed for policy compliance, fraud, waste and abuse. The more advanced systems can remove the ambiguities in the data such as different names for the same hotel.
To succeed in 2014 – traveler managers should recognize that trust promotes traveler satisfaction – but the ability to verify through independent cross systems analysis is what will keep costs in line for their companies.