The Business Travel Show in London kicked off with a session on ground transportation and how new advances in technology can offer more savings while keeping employees and business travellers happy.
While air and hotel programmes appear to be well under control, ground transportation as a category remains hugely fragmented, and managing spend has been challenging. As a result, many commentators see ground transport as the next big frontier in managing traveller spending.
Historically, ground transportation has been difficult to track due to a lack of visibility. As with any travel programme, you can only manage what you can see.
Tim Burgess, also from Uber, commented: “Businesses put a lot of time into travel policies and flight policies and hotel policies, but ground transportation is completely unregulated.” As a result, he says it’s difficult to verify that the amount that is expensed is actually the amount that was spent.
Darryl McGarvey, of SAP Concur, agreed: “Until now, ground travel has not been disrupted by technology. Travellers have complete control over what form of transportation they use and how they feed the expense back into the business. The expense process has not been as productive or efficient as it could be, leaving businesses open to a raft of problems. Fraudulent activities are common. Delays in processing receipts and delays in reimbursing travellers can lead to cash flow problems.”
- Implement a ground transportation policy, which includes clarity about what is acceptable. No more personal taxi trips on corporate accounts.
- Partner with companies that provide travel tracking and real-time expense management.
- Encourage travellers to buy into new technologies by making it easy for them. Give them the right tools. Many people use companies such as Uber in their personal lives and enjoy the transparency it offers, therefore, using it for business is a seamless transition. Making life easier for travellers also has the added benefit of boosting compliance.
There’s a great balancing act between what travellers want and what they need. From a duty of care perspective, it’s important to get it right for all stakeholders involved.
- Make your ground transportation policy clear by outlining what is acceptable and what is not.
- Technology has changed ground transportation for the traveller however it is important to partner with companies who provide technology to improve the expense process.