A disconnect can prompt innovation. Consider these facts uncovered by BCD Travel’s survey of corporate travel buyers: 60% of programs use an online booking tool, and the same percentage have an expense management system. Yet less than a third of those companies have integrated the two. That gap is an end-to-end opportunity in the making.
BCD Travel’s latest update to the 2018 Industry Forecast explores what can happen when a corporate travel program brings together the power of collaborative systems: a seamless business trip.
Travelers gain a simpler and faster expense claim and reimbursement process. Travel managers get greater visibility into what’s actually being spent on the road, helping them identify new opportunities to improve their programs. Here’s how end-to-end is emerging:
- Larger companies are in the lead. According to BCD’s survey, more than half of companies with an annual travel spend above US$25 million have invested in integrated solutions.
- Travel managers who get senior management onboard are further along with end-to-end. The successful ones initiate strategic conversations around travel and expense integration, engaging stakeholders to consider how E2E can help balance interests of the company and its travelers.
Cecile Mutch, Kellogg Company travel program leader and senior director, is among travel managers who’ve persuaded senior management of the value of E2E. She worked with BCD to launch an end-to-end reinvention of the U.S. food giant’s North American travel program. She got buy-in because she aligned the strategy with senior management’s push to build sustainable, ongoing cost management. The end-to-end support desk, branded KTravel, drives savings and boosts travelers’ trip satisfaction.
- Other systems integrations, like human resources and accounting, can open the door for travel-related E2E. Once an area of the company has demonstrated the benefits of integrating systems, employing end-to-end in other areas like travel is an easier sell to senior management.
- Inertia is the enemy. Many companies haven’t assigned ownership of end-to-end processes to any one department, so nobody is moving it forward. This is both a challenge and an opportunity for travel managers.
Mutch said the shift to an end-to-end operation elevated the value of managed travel at Kellogg, noting colleagues regularly go to her for guidance on how to control their departmental costs in smart, strategic ways. Her advice to other travel managers: “Dig into the whole process. While global consolidation has been held up as business travel’s holy grail, I think the future is end-to-end agency management of travel and expense.”
There’s no “right” model for end-to-end, as the Industry Forecast update explains. The approach can be a simple one—just linking travel and expense—or a complex approach that incorporates payments, HR feeds and other systems. Ultimately, the success of any strategy will be determined by a company’s openness to change, readiness to invest and ability to execute on its vision.
Download the Industry Forecast update to learn more. Read why Siemens’ travel chief says end-to-end strategies “wow” travelers. And talk to your BCD Travel account manager about how E2E can help improve your program.