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A Guide to Successfully Adopting Travel Management Software

A Guide to Successfully Adopting Travel Management Software

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Samantha Shankman

14 Apr 2023
6 minute read
Best Practices for Implementing Travel Management Software

Congratulations! You’ve researched the key features and functionality of several modern, cloud-based travel management and corporate card solutions. You’ve ensured it’s user-friendly, accounts for all needed functionality, and boasts superior travel agent and customer support.

Now it’s time to implement. The goal should be a quick (60 days or less, ideally) onboarding and launch sequence that leads to 100% adoption.

To do that, here are some best practices for onboarding a new travel management company — including what’s required if your new partner also serves as the expense management software, which is always a wise choice. Keep reading for strategies to drive adoption, responses to FAQs about employee travel, and resources to help ensure success.

Best Practices for Implementing Travel Management Software

Once the challenging work of selecting the best travel management software for your organization is done, the fun part starts — implementation. Whether your chosen provider is Navan, TravelPerk, Egencia, SAP Concur, SalesTrip, Salesforce, or another solution, these implementation tips will help.

Here are five best practices for implementing travel management software in an organization:

  • Set clear goals. Before implementing travel management software, it’s essential to define what goals the organization seeks to achieve with the software. Plans can include improving cost control, simplifying the booking process, establishing approval workflows, or increasing compliance with company travel policies.
  • Provide thorough training. Ensure that all employees using the corporate travel management tool receive comprehensive training. Training will help them understand how to book flights, access the mobile app, submit requests through the approval process, and more.
  • Encourage adoption. Implementing a new business travel program and booking software can be challenging — even more so if team members don’t use the new system for all employee travel. Consider offering incentives, such as rewards for compliance.
  • Monitor usage. Keep track of how employees use the software and look for any issues or areas of improvement. Reviewing usage data helps identify opportunities for optimization and cost savings.
  • Continuously improve. Evaluate and strengthen travel management software use over time. Solicit employee feedback and identify areas where the provider can enhance the software to better meet your organization’s needs.

Strategies to Drive Compliance and Satisfaction

In today’s fast-paced and ever-evolving business landscape, travel management can be challenging for organizations. So while the above tips might get organizations on the right path, it’s a good idea to lean on some tried-and-tested strategies to ensure that adoption skyrockets and the company can maximize its investment in the new technology.

1. Mandate Usage. Mandating business travel management software is recommended to drive compliance and traveler safety, as well as time and cost savings. Most clients successfully mandate Navan by not reimbursing travelers for booking off-platform.

By mandating the software, the organization benefits from booking management, discounted rates, proactive policy and spend controls, more significant insights into real-time data and expense tracking, and more.

2. Activate Incentives. A rewards program can push employees to book through the mandated travel platform and choose economic hotels that save the company money. Rather than put a dollar cap on hotel rates, as done in legacy travel programs, this model suggests a fair price for a hotel night and rewards employees for choosing a less-expensive room.

For example, commercial general contractor EMJ incentivized employees with the Navan Rewards program and saved 30–35% on hotels and 9% on total bookings after switching to Navan. 

3. Integrate travel and expense. Selecting a travel management solution that also serves as an expense management solution streamlines processes, provides greater visibility into expense tracking and spend, improves compliance through proactive enforcement, increases savings, and enhances the overall user experience.

How to Answer Common Implementation FAQs

Get ahead of employees’ most common questions when faced with a new travel management platform. Here are some responses regarding travel experience, travel inventory, and corporate travel policies.

Question: “I can book the flight/hotel/car cheaper elsewhere. Why?”

Response: This corporate travel booking software gets pricing and travel inventory directly from the airlines. While you may find less-expensive options from third-party resellers, these tickets are restrictive and not recommended for corporate travel. For a year, the company will see consistently higher savings and improved visibility when all employees book travel and manage travel plans through the mandated online booking tool.

Question: “I can’t book basic economy. Why?”

Response: By default, intelligent travel management systems do not surface Basic Economy travel inventory because they must be well-suited for the typical business traveler. Basic Economy flights appear less costly but often charge extra for a traveler’s essential travel requests during a business trip, such as seat selection or carry-on luggage.

Question: “Why do we need to use a platform? I like to choose the site I book on.”

Response: The chosen corporate travel management solution should provide a user-friendly Web and mobile experience, with all trip accommodations consolidated in one place. Employees will access more hotel and flight options than if booked through a site directly while still earning loyalty and rewards points.

Even better, leadership can explain how when partnering with a solution that combines travel and expense management, employees will never need to submit an expense report for reimbursement because transactions for travel expenses paid on the corporate credit card are tied to the trip. In addition, the solution automates the approval workflow, improving travel policy compliance for small businesses and enterprises, and gives the company a holistic view of travel spend companywide.

Resources to Streamline Adoption

Resources are crucial to adopting and using any travel management software. Before signing on  the dotted line with any agreement, see if your special travel management software has the following resources.

Customer Support

Most business travel management providers will offer a library of information, support, and product documentation, with insights into best practices and recommendations. This purpose-built resource can help customers make the most of the platform. Ask providers if there’s a centralized place to access how-to videos, product updates, etc.

Live Training

In-person training sessions give users an overview of booking management and how to gain real-time insights from the travel data dashboard. Live training can be beneficial if a large team needs to get up to speed quickly. They help finance teams hit the ground running, leveraging data for spend management, expense tracking, policy enforcement, and more.

Dedicated Consultant

Finally, some travel management providers will offer a dedicated consultant to help an organization implement the new tool and drive adoption. It’s proven that investing in a dedicated consultant early on can lead to better business outcomes for the provider and organization.

In summary, ensure you have the right resources to streamline your travel management software adoption. Look for a comprehensive help center, a robust enablement program, live training, and a dedicated consultant. With these resources, you can implement the software more efficiently and maximize your investment.

Navan is the only modern, end-to-end travel, corporate card, and expense management solution, providing thousands of customers around the globe with time savings, cost savings, and real-time visibility over spend–and the resource to reach 100% adoption. Take a hands-on, 3-minute tour today.

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