Tag Archives: integrated expense management tool

Travel management becomes easier with big data! Clarcity Travel & Expense uses big data to streamline your travel management process!

Travel management is better with big data

What’s the deal with big data? Data helps companies negotiate better deals. It shows whether funds are spent wisely. It helps companies reduce costs while still meeting their goals.  Data is at the center of every good travel management program.

Let’s take an example. I’d like to negotiate a reduced hotel rate at a hotel in Phoenix. First, I need to build a list of properties to contact. To do this, I need to know the destinations that my travelers visit in Phoenix. This is easy if all of my travelers are going to my company’s Phoenix office. What if I work for a consulting company with many clients in Phoenix? What do I do if my company has several Phoenix locations? It’s even harder if my travelers are sales people who call on lots of different prospects. The best solution is to record the destination address of each Phoenix trip.

Next, I need to know how many nights my travelers spent at hotels for each destination. This will tell whether my travelers are spending enough to negotiate a rate. Once I have this information, I can create my target markets. For example, I might conclude that I need to negotiate a rate at a hotel in downtown Phoenix, a hotel in Scottsdale, and a hotel at the Phoenix airport.

Finally, I need to know which hotels are good fits for my company’s travel policy. Star ratings and average rates from the most recent year are some help. However, the best data is the actual rates that these hotels were offering when my travelers searched for hotels in Phoenix.  Once I have this information, I’m ready to put together my short list of hotels and send out my RFP.

How does travel management become easier with a travel and expense system?

I can see how powerful this data will be. I’m still not sure how I can capture it all in one place. A cloud travel and expense system can help:

1. A travel management  system will show how many nights my travelers spent in hotels in the most recent year for each location.  It will also show prices offered by each hotel.
2. A expense system with mobile mileage tracking can quickly capture the street address of each traveler’s destination.
3. A strong travel policy will make sure that travelers use both systems.

Talk to Clarcity to learn more.

Travel rewards from airlines present unforeseen challenges!

Travel rewards from airlines present unforeseen challenges!

Big changes have come to airline frequent flyer programs in the past five years. Southwest Airlines was the first to change its travel rewards program, known as Rapid Rewards program. In 2011, Southwest began awarding points based on the cost of each ticket rather than the number of flights. Southwest also began offering additional points to travelers purchasing refundable fares and to travelers who fly often enough to be in its A-List elite programDelta and United mimicked Southwest’s changes in 2015, awarding travel rewards (miles) based on the cost of the ticket and the traveler’s elite status rather than based on the distance of the flight. American Airlines announced that similar changes to its AAdvantage program will take effect in the summer of 2016.

What impact do travel rewards from airlines have on a corporate travel program?

Are these changes good news for a corporate travel program? In short, no. They incentivize the behaviors that the travel policy is designed to avoid. Everyone knows that airfares usually rise closer to the date of departure. In fact, a study revealed that tickets sold one week before departure are 30% more expensive than they were two weeks prior. Tickets sold a few days before departure are often more than twice as expensive. The new programs encourage business travelers to wait to the last minute to buy their ticket so that they earn the most miles by paying the highest price.

Elite status has always provided an incentive for the business traveler to choose their flights based on the airline rather than the price.  However, the bonus miles and points take this perverse incentive to a new level.

How can corporate travel managers curb this trend?

Corporate travel managers can fight back with a few powerful tools.

  1. Require travelers to choose the flight option with the lowest logical fare. An online booking tool with a rules engine can determine which flights are “logical” based on departure and landing times, duration, and number of stops.
  2. Require travelers who make last minute bookings to justify them with a written explanation. The explanation can be captured using your corporate travel system when the reservation is made.
  3. Notify travelers with the most frequent policy violations. An integrated travel and expense solution can quickly show you who these people are.
  4. Run your own travel rewards program. Travelers who choose the least expensive options earn the most points.

Learn more about how Clarcity can get your corporate travel program on the right track to saving.

Ghost cards simplify travel payments!

Ghost cards simplify travel payments!

Deciding how to pay for corporate travel can feel like being stuck between a rock and a hard place. Corporate credit cards make sense for senior managers and other frequent travelers. However, corporate credit cards are not good options for employees who travel less than once a quarter. They carry the risk of loss or misuse. They also can’t be used by independent contractors or job candidates.

Employees who charge travel to their personal cards can be stuck carrying a large balance until they are reimbursed. In such instances, the company also misses out on corporate card rebates. These rebates can be as high as 1.5% of spending.

How do ghost cards work?

Ghost cards make corporate travel playfully simple!

A ghost card represents the best of both worlds. It is a single credit card that is used to pay for travel for a number of employees. Here is how a ghost card works.

  1. A travel manager saves the ghost card in the organization’s online travel system.
  2. The travel system enables the manager to control which employees have permission to use the card. The manager can set the type of travel (flight, hotel, and rental car) that can be purchased by each employee.
  3. Employees purchase their travel within the online system. The system automatically submits the card details. The employees never see the full card number.

Will you get a huge credit card bill and have no idea who spent what and why? Not so fast. An online travel system with an integrated expense management tool makes the process a breeze. Here is how it works.

  • Commercial credit cards provide electronic statements which include ticket numbers, hotel identifiers, renter names and destinations.
  • The travel system knows which employee made each reservation by matching this data to details captured at the time of booking.

The expense system lets employees assign cost centers and add receipts to ghost card charges. Explanations can be required for bookings that fall outside of the travel policy. Managers review and approve all charges.

Clarcity Travel & Expense lets you manage your ghost cards. Request a demo and we will show you how!