Travel and expense management solutions: RFI Questions answered

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For as long as Shirley Le Roux, MD of TraveluXion, has been involved in travel management services she has been cognisant of the battle within organisations around Corporate Travel management.

In this months’ SmartProcurement Le Roux explains that the battle is finding a workable balance when procuring travel, a balance that ensures that all the objectives of the organisation are met: 

  • an ability to control spend;
  • good corporate governance;
  • eliminate risk and fraud;
  • ensure travellers’ safety and comfort;
  • an ability to measure savings;
  • conform with global policies;
  • measure service levels of its chosen preferred vendors...

In fact the list goes on, and very few corporations are ever entirely satisfied that they have indeed reached all their objectives.

Some issue directives to ensure compliance. Others decide that as long as budgets are controlled and travellers stay within their limits procuring of travel can be done via any means. Others have multiple travel management companies to allow for choice. Some book anywhere, anyhow and are never able to fully understand their travel and expense (T&E) spend.

Whatever category your organisation fits into, the question must be asked: “how do we roll out an effective Travel Management programme that allows us the flexibility we need and most importantly ensures that we are able to meet our objectives?”

The answer is technology.

Or is it that simple? There seems to be a plethora of technology on offer in the T&E space:

  • Self-booking tools offering the ability to book travel in an environment that controls travel policy.
  • A convergence of a self-booking tool and an ERP tool
  • A self-booking tool that offers direct links into the various vendors, bypassing the traditional booking methods utilised by travel agents or travel management companies.

So where do you start? What do you choose and more importantly, how do you ensure that you will ultimately own whichever method you choose, thus ensuring that the time spent collating data to implement this system is not in vain and that no matter what vendor you utilise or change, your processes won’t be uprooted?

Some suggestions on what to look for when making this very important decision:

  • The solution must be independent and not linked to any particular travel management company.
  • Ensure you can purchase the licenses and select the fulfilment partner and suppliers of your choice.
  • The solution must cater for any number of suppliers or travel management companies in any market, or various travel management companies in various markets, dependant on your policy - the choice should be yours.
  • The solution must operate independently from, but be able to integrate with, any particular ERP system.
  • Role players in the area of procuring travel must be able to interact on the same platform, thus ensuring consistency, transparency and availability of realtime data.
  • Ensure you can self-book travel or obtain assistance from various travel management companies during the transaction.
  • Ensure you can control “managed spend” (spend within policy) and “unmanaged spend” (spend that is outside of policy) in one powerful solution.
  • After a trip is complete costs associated with it must be linked to it.
  • Ensure the ability to procure and track your meetings, incentives, conferences and events spend in one powerful application.
  • Ensure your travellers’ freedom of choice if you so desire, provided they stay within budget, meaning you can provide the approver the available budgetary information at the time of the request.
  • Ensure an ability to be aware of costs associated with T&E before they hit your relevant General Ledger accounts

Ultimately if you are interested in owning a solution instead of a solution owning you, give us a call we would love to meet with you and discuss how we at TraveluXion can streamline your current process and ensure you meet your objectives when it comes to Spend Management in the T&E space.

Contact Shirley.leroux@traveluxion.co.za or Tracey.shaw@traveluxion.co.za 

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