It is no secret that travel management and procurement can be incredibly time-consuming. Luckily, numerous travel procurement tools automate at least one aspect of the process, allowing you to 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 helpful. We already mentioned the time-saving aspect of it, which is why it is among the most essential 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 select 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 allowing the platform to 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 team members to access the information in your corporate account. After all, a few companies only have one person handling all the travel procurement and logistics. Even if you only have one person in the role, you want room for expansion. You also wish managers and employees could access their travel information.
- Tracking Approval: Your chosen tool should be able to follow your corporate travel policy regarding who can make confident decisions. If there is a sole procurement team, no approvals may be needed. However, if you let employees make travel decisions, this is an important feature to look for.
- Whatever Integrations You Need: Don’t forget to think about other tools involved in managing corporate travel and ensure you choose a solution for travel procurement automation that will integrate with them.
With that in mind, look at some of the tools that can help you with corporate travel management automation.
Oversee is an excellent resource for corporate travel management automation (if we do say ourselves), especially if most of your business travel involves air travel. While Oversee is known for its features for finding and managing business flights, it is also expanding into offering hotel solutions. This makes the solution more versatile, as you can use some of its features even if your employees are driving.
Oversee’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 flight price tracking. This ability to check prices allows Oversee to deliver price assurance for TMCs. There are also solutions for and to provide travel insights that can further help you optimize your costs.
Gatekeeper manages relationships with your external supplies, company, and employees. This has in-house applications for collaboration, but the vendor portal can also be helpful 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 critical tasks.
Planergy is a platform to help you manage your expenditures, focusing 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 and spending limits for departments. You could use that when booking flights and accommodations for travel. Or, use this feature to prevent overspending by corporate trips on things such as meals. The main benefit of corporate travel is the ability to avoid 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; it also works for any spending in your company. From the perspective of corporate travel, Spendesk essentially lets you track all of your spending in a single space and do so by users.
That ability to track spending by the user is particularly helpful, as it accounts for situations when travel is booked with a corporate account. Still, 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 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 Oversee are particularly useful, as they allow you to cement your corporate travel plans while taking advantage of future price reductions.