How to Manage Corporate Travel Bookings
Navigating Business Travel
Efficiently handling corporate travel bookings is paramount for businesses with employees who frequently need to travel for work. The process of reserving corporate flights, accommodation and other essential travel arrangements can be intricate and take a significant amount of time. Nevertheless, using the appropriate tools, you can simplify this entire process, ensuring a seamless experience for both travelers and those who have the daunting task of travel management.
Below, we dive into the best platforms to use to manage corporate travel bookings that will make life so much easier using accessible interfaces and integrations. A few are likely familiar names that you may not even have realized offer corporate travel management, so read on to find out how to get started.
Selecting the Right Booking Platform
Before diving into the specifics of each platform, it’s essential to choose the right booking platform or combination of platforms for your corporate travel needs. Different platforms offer various features and cater to different types of businesses.
There are various things you need to consider before settling on a platform. Smaller companies and groups may need less organization and intricacies than large companies, and equally, pricing needs may differ depending on the size of your business. You’ll also need to remember that when managing corporate travel bookings, compliance is critical and can be a minefield. Ensure that the platform allows you to enforce your company’s travel policy.
For ease, try and find a travel platform that integrates with any current systems you may be using, such as expense management software or your HR database, instead of trying to transfer lots of information manually. Finally, don’t forget that corporate travel management can be a headache, so try and find a platform that’s simple and easy to use, both by those organizing the travel plans and by those traveling.
SAP Concur is one of the most comprehensive travel management solutions that offers a range of tools for booking, expense reporting and invoice management. It’s perfect for mid-sized to large companies and allows you to book corporate flights, hotels and rental cars all in one place.
There’s also a mobile app for on-the-go booking and expense tracking; plus, the platform can integrate with various systems to streamline travel options – a few include accounting, expense management and planning management software so there won’t be a cent unaccounted for.
Regarding compliance, travel managers can set up travel policies on the platform to ensure compliance with company guidelines, and there are even notifications to help ensure travelers adhere to the policies. SAP Concur is one of the largest and most popular platforms, meaning it can be costly, but this depends on the size of your company, so they’ll provide you with a quote when you sign up.
Southwest Airlines unsurprisingly offers its own booking platform for corporate travelers known as SWABIZ (Southwest Business), which is designed to simplify the process of booking and managing flights when traveling with the airline.
The platform allows you to book corporate flights directly with Southwest, making it easy to access their extensive network of flights and transportation while users can manage reservations, change flights and access booking reports online. Compliance isn’t as strong a priority with Southwest, but it does provide tools for tracking and managing travel expenses and can integrate with certain expense management software. Rather than being based on the size of your business, Southwest’s pricing for corporate travel depends solely on the amount of travel you’re booking, so it’s usually different each time.
For corporate travelers who frequently stay at Hilton properties, being a part of the Hilton Honors travel program offers specific benefits and tools that can be extremely useful for business travel bookings. Their brand new platform, Hilton for Business, is set to launch in 2024 for small to mid-sized companies.
They plan to provide a seamless booking experience for Hilton Hotels, which will allow travelers to access corporate rates and discounts that can be ideal for cutting down costs, similar to their corporate deals at the moment. There’s no word yet about the integrations or finer details of the new system, but the current perks for corporate travelers are excellent.
The best part about Hilton’s corporate Honor system is that it’s completely free to use, however, your business does need to have a corporate agreement set up with Hilton, which will decide the price of relevant hotel stays, otherwise, you can add you relevant corporate code at the time of booking any rooms if you aren’t a large corporation.
TravelPerk is a modern corporate travel management platform known for its flexibility and user-friendliness that’s aimed at pretty much all kinds of companies and businesses of all sizes.
They offer a wide range of travel options, including flight ticket booking, accommodation options and ground transportation, so virtually everything is covered, and users can book, manage and track their travel itineraries using the platform or the helpful mobile app.
TravelPerk is popular for its integrations, as it can easily be paired with accounting software, Slack and Trello, which are used by thousands of companies nowadays. It also has an excellent compliance system in place, providing policy controls to ensure travelers follow company guidelines.
Different again to Hilton and Southwest, TravelPerk’s pricing is subscription-based, which can be fitted to large or small companies – this can be ideal if you’re a company booking frequent or long-term corporate travel.
Amex Global Business Travel
Amex Global Business Travel is a well-established corporate travel management company that offers a suite of services, and it’s extremely popular thanks to American Express being loved across the world. Their site has booking options for corporate flights, accommodations, car rentals and more, with access to a vast network of suppliers, meaning you can choose exactly what suits your requirements.
It’s relatively straightforward, with fewer bells and whistles than others – you can book via the online travel platform or contact Amex GBT’s travel agents directly. Being established and having experience with large corporations means there are compliance rules in place, and they offer travel policy consulting services to help companies establish and enforce any necessary policies.
Just like Southwest, the cost of using the American Express platform is entirely customized to what is required for your corporate booking, but it’s trusted by some of the biggest names in business, so you can be confident you’re in safe hands.