Travel spend at your organization might have gone down due to the pandemic. With things opening back up now and events resuming, there will most likely be an uptick in corporate travel expenses.
Business travel before and after the pandemic will not look exactly the same. However, now is the perfect time for corporate card managers to prepare for the grand return of business travel, double down on reviewing T&E (travel and expense) card transactions, and get acclimated to any new post-pandemic trends in the business travel world.
Here are a few ways to get ready for business travel to expand this year and beyond.
Review and Update Your Corporate Travel Card Policy
So much has changed in a year including the way employees may want to travel, categories for corporate travel expenses, and more. It’s a good idea to review and update your corporate travel card policy right now.
That way, everyone has a clear understanding of how the organization will be handling travel expenses after the pandemic. Updating the corporate travel card policy is another opportunity to reset certain spending limits along with which travel companies you want to include in your list of approved vendors.
Another important thing to consider is if you’ll be utilizing more contactless payment methods and protocols to follow if a trip is canceled or postponed for any reason. Since CDC guidelines have been recommending the best travel safety protocols, this may also be something that employees need to review before spending money on business travel.
Once your policy is updated, you’ll want to make sure everyone has a clear understanding of any changes and how to use their T&E cards. Consider getting everyone up to speed on the new travel card policy with an online training program. Most people don’t have time to create an on-demand cardholder training so you can always outsource this task. Or, start by creating a few quick instructional videos to share with cardholders.
Clean Up the Corporate Travel Expenses Review Processes
An increase in corporate travel expenses means you’ll have a lot more hotel, airline, and restaurant expenses to review. Another thing to always be on the lookout for are unnecessary travel upgrades or changes to the itenerary.
It’s important to clean up your expense reporting process and stay organized. This may mean creating new categories for private transportation vs. a rideshare service. Or even adding guidelines for meal delivery services to use during conferences or events.
Embracing technology is always a helpful option when trying to improve your review process for corporate travel expenses. The right expense monitoring service can take a lot of manual work off your hands and provide alerts to help prevent in-house fraud attempts and card misuse.
Carefully Track Refunds and Monitor Receipts
Travel plans change all the time. You’ll need a system in place to carefully monitor refunds, reimbursements, and receipts for travel expenses. Let’s say an event or meeting gets canceled and an employee receives a refund on a conference ticket or hotel stay. How will you track refunds as reimbursements across multiple departments as more events take place?
A few years ago, an organization discovered that a staff member was booking first class flights for business travel but switching to an economy seat at the last minute. The switch was often made after submitting the expense for review. This staff member ended up with plenty of airline credits that they could then use for personal trips.
While situations like this are rare, they could cost the organization lots of money and resources.
The Return of Business Travel Expenses Doesn’t Have to Be a Pain to Manage
The anticipation of increased business travel is no doubt a good thing. Business travel helps build relationships and create new opportunities. When it comes to maintaining compliance for corporate travel expenses, you don’t have to tackle this alone.
Card Integrity can help monitor your expenses including travel-related costs. That way, you are truly saving time and not feeling depleted after each monthly expense review process. Take advantage of our online tools with flexible capabilities to increase the visibility of your organization’s business travel spend in addition to automatically capturing valuable data trends.
To learn more about our services just click here to contact us or give us a call at (630) 501-1507.