It is no secret that travel management and procurement can be incredibly time-consuming. Luckily, there are numerous travel procurement tools that automate at least one aspect of the process, letting you use your valuable time more efficiently.
Why Use Automation
Before exploring the various corporate travel management online booking tool options, get a quick refresher on why automation is so useful. We already mentioned the time-saving aspect of it, which is why it is among the most important tips for busy travel managers, but there are more benefits than that.
Travel procurement automation can:
- Save your travel procurement team time.
- Reduce delays.
- Save money in labor hours.
- Save money by delivering savings.
- Control and monitor travel expenses with real-time data.
- Manage your business travel policy.
- Improve the ease of auditing.
- Improve performance on audits.
Choosing Your Procurement Tools
It’s important to remember that you won’t automatically notice benefits by choosing just any of the corporate travel management automation tools. You have to choose the right ones. From automation to other features, the following are some crucial elements to keep in mind when considering which travel procurement tools to use:
- Automation: Not all tools will have an element of automation, but the best do. This lets you make the most of your time by letting the platform handle complicated tasks.
- Cost Optimization: Your chosen corporate travel management automation tools should also involve some element of cost optimization. The way that the tool delivers this can vary, but the important thing is that it will be able to save you money. Some good specific features to look for include comparisons with previous prices and real-time oversight.
- Collaboration: At the very least, your corporate travel management online booking tool should allow multiple members of your team to access the information in your corporate account. After all, few companies only have a single person handling all of the travel procurement and logistics. Even if you currently only have one person in the role, you want room for expansion. You also want managers and employees to be able to access their travel information.
- Tracking Approval: Your chosen tool should be able to follow your corporate travel policy in regard to who can make certain decisions. If there is a sole procurement team, then maybe no approvals are needed. If, however, you let employees make travel decisions, this is an important feature to look for.
- Whatever Integrations You Need: Don’t forget to think about what other tools are involved in managing corporate travel and ensure you choose a solution for travel procurement automation that will integrate with them.
With that in mind, take a look at some of the tools that can help you with corporate travel management automation.
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FairFly: FairFly is an excellent resource for corporate travel management automation (if we do say ourselves), especially if the majority of your business travel involves air travel. While FairFly is known for its features for finding and managing business flights, it is also expanding into offering hotel solutions as well. This makes the solution more versatile, as you can use some of its features even if your employees are driving.
FairFly’s most popular feature is the ability to reshop flights (and hotels) after booking them. This lets you plan ahead but helps ensure you get the lowest price, thanks to the use of flight price tracking. This ability to check prices also allows FairFly to deliver price assurance for TMCs. There are also solutions for unused tickets and to provide travel insights that can further help you optimize your costs.
Gatekeeper: Gatekeeper manages relationships with your external supplies, your company, and your employees. This has in-house applications for collaboration, but the vendor portal can also be useful for business travel. After all, you likely have a set group of vendors that employees work with while traveling, from food to rental cars to hotels.
The vendor portal on Gatekeeper lets vendors set up profiles and input the required data. This reduces the time and effort you put in. This system aims to let you digitize and automate processes, saving time to spend on more important tasks.
Planergy: Planergy is a platform to help you manage your expenditures, with the focus on purchase orders. While this has plenty of applications outside of business travel, it can also work for this situation. One example is the ability to create budgets as well as spending limits for departments. You could use that when booking flights and accommodations for travel. Or, use this feature to prevent overspending by corporate travels on things such as meals. The main benefit for corporate travel is the ability to prevent unapproved purchases and to look for savings opportunities. But your business may also use this tool to reduce errors and manage purchase orders for other departments that don’t travel.
Spendesk: This is one of the travel tools that works for more than just travel, as it also works for any type of spending in your company. From the perspective of corporate travel, Spendesk essentially lets you track all of your spendings in a single space and do so by users.
That ability to track spending by user is particularly helpful, as it accounts for situations when travel is booked with a corporate account, but employees spend their own money on food or other travel-related expenses and need to be reimbursed. Spendesk can connect these to the same user. It also lets employees automatically create expense reports to streamline the reimbursement process.
Spendee: Spendee lets you easily track the expenditures related to business travel, including what employees spend on food and other items while traveling. It tracks spending in real-time and makes it possible to attach receipts. The only caveat is that this is a free app designed for personal use, not business use. That being said, you can recommend it to traveling employees to help with reimbursement and expenditures.
Using corporate travel management automation tools will let you reduce work for your travel procurement team and save money in the process. Products like FairFly are particularly useful, as they let you cement your corporate travel plans in place while still taking advantage of future price reductions.