Insights & Trends
Why Small Businesses Need Managed Travel

Why Small Businesses Need Managed Travel

Austin Aboav

22 Jul 2022
4 minute read
Woman traveler holding phone on busy street

The practice of moving a company onto a managed platform for managing travel isn’t relegated to larger or Fortune 500 companies. Regardless of size, every business that sees travel as a routine expenditure on its books should have processes in place for managing the program and driving compliance, duty of care, and cost savings.

Indeed, travel is critical to the success of many small businesses as employees attend conferences, client meetings, and events. And with the right tools, a small business with frequent travelers can better equip itself to manage travel risks and security while employees still have a positive experience.

What is the difference between unmanaged and managed travel?

  • Unmanaged travel occurs when employees book their own travel itinerary—flights, hotels, rental cars, or other accommodations—on whatever platform they choose.
  • Managed travel is when a business enlists the help of a travel vendor to bring stability to their existing travel program.

A managed travel program balances the needs of the individual traveler with the company's goals. It gives employees the power of choice when booking travel, while companies maintain control over costs and meet their duty of care obligations.

The Benefits of Managed Travel

From policy control and reporting capabilities to traveler experience and safety—the benefits of managed travel are important considerations for companies of any size. Below is a breakdown of where travel management excels for businesses of all sizes.

Policy Control

A vital component of a managed travel program is the implementation ofa travel policy. This policy is a set of guidelines to which employees must adhere when booking travel. Compliance with these policies will ensure that a business controls travel costs while giving employees the information they need to travel comfortably. Travel policies usually include:

  • Spend limits across flights, hotels, car rentals, rail, etc.
  • What room class is allowed for travel bookings
  • Daily maximum allowances for food costs
  • Next steps for flight cancellations, missed flights, and rebooking
  • Allowable upgrades

An excellent way to achieve peak performance from a corporate travel program is to incorporate flexibility wherever possible. Investing in dynamic policy capabilities can enable market adjustments to be intuitively made. For instance, a hotel in Omaha will vary significantly from lodging in San Francisco—so a dynamic policy based on geographic location enables employees to spend appropriately.

Reporting and Visibility

The only way to get a foothold over travel spending is to see where it’s going, know who’s spending how much where, and analyze trends to make more informed decisions. Gaining visibility into the many facets of business travel operations offers advantages as businesses work to corral costs. As a result, the business will save vital finances for other business expenditures. Key reporting and visibility capabilities from managed travel include:

  • Visibility into each traveler’s spend
  • Tracking spend across departments and cost centers
  • Visibility into travelers’ upcoming and past trip itineraries
  • Tracking traveler locations so the business may get in touch with them at any given time (aka duty of care)
  • Real-time updated dashboards
  • Robust reporting capabilities that enable for customization

Traveler Experience

Booking travel should be a seamless, efficient experience for employees. Every minute that a traveler spends figuring out plans is productivity lost for the business. And if something goes wrong, the traveler should know who and where to go to get help. A strong managed travel program should couple a consumer-grade experience with business-grade value. This program should host capabilities like the ability to surface a variety of inventory sources across flights, hotels, cars, and rail for any given search. Broad flight and fare details should also be available at the click of a button and the platform should also allow travelers to:

  • Search flexible date ranges for flights
  • Book, manage, and cancel travel in one consolidated place
  • Enjoy a user experience that’s similar to consumer sites
  • Receive support through a variety of channels, around-the-clock

The ultimate tool for small business travel management

T&E policy may not be the highest priority for small businesses, but it can generate enormous savings in both time and money. And as small businesses grow, a policy that grows with them can give budding companies an advantage over the competition. Navan is the only all-in-one travel, corporate card, and expense management solution globally that automatically drives down costs and boosts employee productivity. This all comes together by pairing a consumer-grade user experience with deep inventory, proactive spend controls that ensure policy compliance, and real-time visibility to have insight into every dollar spent.

Ready to start using Navan today? Get up and running in 5 minutes.

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