Have a growing company? Chances are its travel expenses are growing, too. Travel is consistently one of the top operational expenses for companies of all sizes. Small businesses looking to raise money, find customers, and hire top talent are no exception.
Implementing a corporate travel program can help small businesses get a handle on the expenses associated with travel. But where can they begin? Below are answers to the top questions small businesses have when starting a corporate travel program, along with links to additional resources.
Corporate travel takes place when an employee travels on behalf of a company. Examples include traveling to:
Any business that has employees traveling for the company is participating in corporate travel—no matter how often the team travels or how many travel expenses they incur along the way.
Yes. The term corporate travel is interchangeable with business travel.
Terms like corporate/business travel agent, corporate/business travel management, and corporate/business travel program all have the exact same meaning.
Business travel expenses are any costs incurred on business trips. These travel costs include:
Travelers either put charges on a corporate credit card or use a personal credit card and submit receipts for reimbursement from their companies.
A corporate travel program sets the guidelines on how business travel will operate at a company. There are two types of corporate travel programs:
Corporate travel management is the structure that a company has in place to oversee and facilitate business travel. In the past, businesses relied on travel agents to book business trips—a time-consuming and expensive process. Today, travel management has been streamlined and simplified thanks to online booking tools, travel management software, expense management technology, and mobile apps.
A corporate travel policy is the set of parameters a company uses to manage employees’ bookings and spend when travelers are on the road.
The corporate travel policy is an important component of the company’s overall travel budget. When embraced companywide, these policies ensure that a business can control travel costs and give travel managers visibility into travel spend so they can better control the budget.
An effective corporate travel policy needs to account for the many varied types of travel that company employees undertake. Some of the fundamental pieces include:
In the past, travel policies typically lived in static documents that quickly became outdated. Today, technology has allowed companies to build flexible, dynamic, and effective travel policies. Navan displays a company’s corporate travel policy during the travel booking experience and automates policy compliance through its expense managment suite of technology. Travelers know immediately what expenses are appropriate, and travel managers can make updates to policies as situations and business needs change.
Duty of care is a company’s moral and legal obligation to care for employees while they're conducting business. From a global pandemic to a natural disaster, it’s crucial to prepare for the unexpected in business travel to manage risk, ensure business travel continuity, and protect employees on the road.
Allowing employees to make travel plans outside of a centralized, managed travel platform makes it impossible to know where travelers are at any given time. A realistic duty of care policy goes hand-in-hand with effective travel risk management.
In addition, a managed corporate travel platform should offer travel support that employees can reach out to if last-minute travel disruptions occur.
Read More: What Duty of Care Means for Travel Managers
A travel management company (TMC) is a corporate travel agency that helps organizations manage corporate travel programs. It provides travel management services such as:
A TMC can also provide cost savings for companies through special, corporate-negotiated rates because of its connections with travel industry providers. Negotiating and maintaining similar corporate rates for a small business travel program would be complex and time-consuming.
As small businesses and startups grow, it’s not just travel expenses that become increasingly complex. That’s why, in addition to TMC capabilities, Navan can also manage all business spend via physical and digital cards that have the policy coded directly into them. Companies can reduce spend and save countless hours when cards, spend management, and travel are part of a single platform.
A travel management solution is software that manages all components of a company’s corporate travel program. It combines a travel booking platform and expense management tool to improve not only the booking process but the entire travel experience for employees.
A travel and expense solution like Navan can balance the needs of the individual traveler with the company's goals. It gives employees the power of choice when booking travel, and lets companies maintain control over costs as well as meet their duty of care obligations.
Navan combines policy tools with a wealth of other benefits, making it the only solution a small business needs to future-proof its corporate travel program.
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