The value of business travel is clear for growing company revenue and building face-to-face relationships. But when business travel is poorly managed — and too often, that’s still the case — employee productivity and satisfaction are at stake.
Today, we’re publishing a new report by Lola.com, “The Cost of Doing Business Travel,” which explores how much time and money companies are wasting due to inefficiently managed business travel and what types of tools are needed to solve for these challenges.
In Lola’s survey, nearly all business travelers agreed that well-managed business travel is critical for their company’s success, especially when it comes to winning new business, keeping customers happy, and meeting partners in person.
But the report found that the majority of people who travel for work and book their own travel on consumer booking sites spend an average of 12 total hours per trip researching, purchasing, adjusting, canceling, and reporting expenses. Those who book through an intermediary don’t fare much better: Employees who book their travel through an internal or external travel manager still spend an average of nine hours communicating or planning each trip. What’s worse, nearly 40 percent of travel managers surveyed said the tools they are provided with don’t offer the level of support needed to do their job effectively.
Of course, the wasted time has a big impact on the bottom line when it comes to lost productivity. Lola found that a significant portion of travelers believe that their company’s undermanaged travel process is causing them to overspend on travel. Inefficient and ineffective travel management can weigh on job satisfaction as well, for both travelers and travel managers.
Clearly, better tools and management strategies are needed. The study shows that inefficient tools are causing unnecessary friction, whether business travelers are booking their own travel or having someone book on their behalf.
So what are today’s business travelers looking for in a corporate travel management tool?
For travelers, that could mean tools with easy-to-understand guidelines for in-policy travel bookings, the ability to filter options based on their company’s travel policies, 24/7 customer support, and digital receipts for easier expensing.
For travel managers, such a tool would ideally offer the ability to save information on traveler booking preferences, easy access to digital receipts, automatically generated and easily shareable itineraries, and automated travel expense reporting.
In many organizations, finance teams are the ones responsible for managing, optimizing, and reporting on corporate travel. That’s why Lola created the Agile Operations Summit, a one-day conference taking place on November 6, 2019, at Artists for Humanity in Boston, Massachusetts. The Summit that will bring together finance and operations professionals from all over the country to learn from inspirational speakers about how to make their organization more agile and support their employees.
On a panel that will cover travel, expense, and duty of care, Krista Pappas, the senior vice president of business development at Lola.com, Rebecca Morrison, vice president of finance at Lola.com, Evan Konwiser, vice president of marketing and product strategy for American Express Global Business Travel, and Steve Isom, vice president of finance at Flywheel will discuss best practices for travel policies, how to streamline expense management, and the importance of employee health, well-being, and safety while on the road for work.
Skift readers can use code “skift” to receive free general admission to Lola’s Agile Operations Summit. To learn more about how companies can solve for better business travel, download Lola’s report here.