Workforce mobility trends: The journey to simplified corporate travel
The employee travel experience is often singularly different than the customer one. This is due to the fact that corporate travel management is at the heart of many functions within organizations, such as HR Mobility, Finance, Procurement or IT. Therefore, being able to provide a unified and integrated business-traveller experience is, for many companies, a real challenge.
A multifaceted challenge:
- in terms of travel process harmonization
- with regards to systems integration
- in order to provide a simplified & engaging travel experience to employees
- in terms of risk & compliance
In order to tackle these questions, organizations have to follow two key guiding principles:
- Employee centricity
- IT simplification
Today, an employee-centric approach is a design fundamental for any human resources project - employee journey exercises are for instance a standard in almost all human capital assignments.
The second guiding principle is about eliminating IT complexity in handling traveller data.
Simplifying the IT landscape for travel management is a real breakthrough for many organizations. There are two dimensions to be taken into account: systems convergence & the integration of value-added travel services. Both of these dimensions are crucial in order to provide an optimal corporate travel service.
What we notice in the travel & expense software market is that more and more IT vendors are proposing end-to-end solutions. SAP Concur was the first solution to pave the way towards an integrated travel journey. Today, it still is the market leader by far, but competition is fierce with other players such as KDS or Amadeus Cytric now also able to provide similar offerings. For companies, these market trends can be materialized via additional features available to add to their current travel or expense solution.
Integration of value-added travel services
Corporate travel isn’t limited to transportation, accommodation & expenses - the scope is broader than ever. New regulations are emerging and existing ones are being reinforced, making uncertainty management a priority for employers. Furthermore, employee’s expectations in terms of travel options are increasing, owing to the fact that the TravelTech landscape is booming, hence proposing a plethora of innovative & disruptive services.
In order to catch up on these techological advances, travel & expense solutions are incrementally introducing new partnerships or integrations with different travel services such as home sharing or peer-to-peer ridesharing.
Next to embedding players from the sharing economy into corporate travel management, there are additional components that are now available for organizations such as tax and immigration compliance risk management. These services are crucial for employers, especially in an increasing VUCA environment. The ability to manage the tax and immigration compliance risks of business travellers allows companies to have a holistic view on their employees’ travel journey.
Alongside these guiding principles, in order to optimize & simplify clients’ travel & expense management, the business traveller’s journey is mapped out and critical touchpoints are identified. Based on these inputs, enhancements from a technology or process standpoint are then recommended and implemented. The business traveller view is at the forefront of the improvement strategy, but it is still key that all stakeholders involved benefit from it. Thus, other roles such as the line manager (from an approver’s perspective) or mobility officer (travel/HR admin) are also carefully assessed. Looking to the example of a mobility officer, technologies such as chatbots or RPA (Robotic Process Automation) can mean maximizing an employee’s valuable time
Bottom line, the corporate travel industry is step-by-step leveraging emerging technologies & putting the emphasis on integration in order to deliver to employees a travel experience that is simplified as the services they use in their day-to-day lives