Business travel was once thought of as prestigious by many but presented the overworked business traveller with its unique set of problems. Technology today has changed that though and innovations driven by systems like SAP Concur has eased business travel considerably.
A recent article shared by Andy Watson, senior vice president and general manager, Asia Pacific Japan and Greater China, SAP Concur, likened decluttering business travel to the famed decluttering methods that Marie Kondo of the famed KonMari method.
According to Watson, the two sets of circumstances are more similar than many would realise. He opined that when using the right methods, easing business travel could be as easy as turning your home into a neat comfort zone. All it needs is a touch of the right technology.
Comparing the travel needs of yesteryear, business travellers were found to have to do many things on their own. Normally, this wouldn’t be much of a challenge, but to business travellers, it’s more thing to remember and more things to do – on top of an already hectic work schedule.
There was a need to manually search for the best flights that would be the perfect balance of cost versus time and call up multiple hotels to find a reasonable residence for the desired time period. This would be even more complex should the trip involve multiple stops on a chain tour.
Plus, at the end of the day, there would have to be a paper trail literally a mile long with everything having to be accounted for. Heaven forbid a minor change anywhere along that manual trail. And when all of this is done – it still needs to be approved. Yet another chance at having a spanner thrown into the gears.
How Tech Like SAP Concur Helps
Today, with the touch of a button and all from integrated devices, business travellers can accomplish all of this in moments. From using smart apps to book all flights, hotels and rental cars and unified systems to manage claims and invoicing management from start to finish – everything is so simple.
“This integration ability lets travellers save time on bookings and leverage a B2C experience, while staying within the policy needs of their company. These features are particularly attractive for millennial travellers. And that’s an important demographic for corporates and travel companies to cater to,” opines Watson.
According to the UNWTO World Tourism Barometer, millennial travel is expected to increase in value by 1.6 times to US$340 billion by 2020. In Singapore, Expedia found that 84% of millennials travel at least once a year, higher than baby boomers (73%) and the Generation X (82%).
Among all this, the key advantage is that companies are always kept in the loop so they can render on-site assistance when the need arises. Watson commented that modern apps can help firms proactively monitor weather, violence, system disruptions or other risks that may impact their travellers, communicate with them and connect them to expert support.
This approach is also conducive to a paperless environment, where sustainable options are all on the table via modern apps. Some firms may require that their staff on travel optimise their routes based on emissions, to encourage the consideration of low carbon options be they air, sea or land.
The advantages stretch beyond the individual business travellers and overall benefits to companies since they specifically also reduce the overhead to finance departments.
“The data of employees’ bookings across multiple channels all flow back to the finance team. The team gets more visibility and greater insights, so they can apply policy on direct bookings and better manage compliance and approvals. With this same data, the finance department could anticipate needs, predict challenges, identify opportunities on the fly, and tackle everything from taxes and compliance risk to mobile phone expenses and fraud. All in all, a company could create a best-in-class experience for its employee travellers while dramatically improving its financial controls and productivity organisation-wide,” says Watson.