Business travel is finally returning to pre-pandemic levels, but the nature of it is looking very different, with efficiency an increasingly important part of any trip. In other words, is value of the trip, in business terms and the associated costs, justifiable?
Certainly, after the rise of videoconferencing seemed like it might make face to face interaction a thing of the past, it seems more often now employers are giving the green light to business trips. A report by the Department for Transport, looking at travel managers’ plans for the next year said: “Findings suggest that the proportion of businesses conducting domestic travel will return to pre-pandemic levels. 99% of businesses that travelled domestically pre-pandemic expected employees in their organisations to do so post-pandemic.”
It found similar levels of commitment to international travel as well, but crucially travel managers said they were looking to make any time spent away from the office (real or virtual) more cost effective. Nineteen percent said they had already reduced the overall travel budget, while 30% said they expected to in future.
With the efficiency of business trips now one of the most important factors, employees need to book rooms and manage expenses more effectively, and demonstrate value too.
To do this, businesses are rewriting travel and expenses policies, but then need to back this up with systems which can support it. This is where the Allstar Plus business credit and fuel card, and the travel booking platform Roomex, come in.
Employees can now add their Allstar Plus card to Roomex, so employees can pay for travel and expenses quicker and more easily. Crucially too, it offers more control and visibility for managers, so they can be sure that every business trip is cost-effective.
1 Book rooms more easily
Roomex’s booking platform is trusted by more than 2,000 businesses worldwide and has more than one million properties available globally. This means that employees can find and book accommodation on one platform rather than having to go through multiple booking sites to find rooms. Also, you can add in any pre-negotiated rates with providers.
2 Take control of spend
All travel purchases through Roomex can be made on the Allstar Plus card, and all purchases and bookings can be controlled, based on your travel policies. With Roomex, you can even add meals, parking, and wifi at the point of booking to keep a tighter grip on spend. Controls can be set so employees can’t book rooms or pay for expenses beyond their allowed level, while spend analytics and booking history allow you to ditch spreadsheets and keep track of all purchases and budgets online.
3 Get peace of mind and security
With Allstar Plus and Roomex, security and anti-fraud controls ensure seamless and secure e-commerce while there’s the option to use a live Duty of Care map to keep track of where your workers are staying at any time.
4 Pay simply and reduce admin
Using Allstar Plus means one payment method for all business travel expenses. Employees never have to pay out of pocket for their hotel stays which makes reconciling costs easier if the booking is changed or cancelled, and payments automatically show up on your dashboard, with a single, weekly invoice. There’s also no need to collate receipts for any travel payments making complex, time consuming administration a thing of the past.
5 Analyse spend and budgets
Using the Roomex platform with Allstar Plus gives travel managers a detailed breakdown of all travel spend, with actionable insights. Not only will you be able to get a clearer idea of what is being spent, and where, but the data will also help inform future travel expense policy and cost decisions.
Despite the rise of videoconferencing there is an acceptance that some meetings must happen face to face.
Research by hotel group Accor found that business people are expected to make 25% more revenue through face-to-face meetings than virtual ones – as long as they had a clear return on investment. Sophie Hulgard, senior vice-president of sales for Northern Europe at Accor said: “There is still a compelling need for face-to-face meetings.”
With Allstar Plus and Roomex, businesses can control cost, speed up booking and reduce administration, ensure that every trip is as efficient as possible.