Fortify Your Travel Expense Program to Prepare for a Busy Travel Season

Managing corporate travel expenses as travel continues the trend toward growth

Travel spend at your organization might have gone up in the past few years and is set to continue through this Spring and Summer. Even though corporate travel has slowly trended upwards, the overall costs, including airfare and hotel, have seen a marked increase this year. As travel prices continue to rise, travel managers can make necessary changes in corporate travel by adjusting their travel budgets and developing strategic travel plans to buffer the rising costs.

With the recent growth of business travel and higher travel costs, now is the perfect time for corporate card managers to prepare travel programs by doubling down on reviewing T&E (Travel and Expense) Card transactions, and getting acclimated to current 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 recently changed in business travel, including the integration of business and leisure, categories for corporate travel expenses, and other ways employees experience travel. With these recent travel changes and experiences, 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. 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.

Once your policy is updated, you’ll want to ensure everyone understands 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 need more 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

Increased corporate travel expenses mean 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 itinerary.

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 useful 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 Corporate 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 with 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 save time and stay energized after each monthly expense review process. Take advantage of our in-house tools with flexible capabilities to increase the visibility of your organization’s business travel spend and automatically capture valuable data trends.

To learn more about our services that you can implement into your T&E program, just click here to contact us or give us a call at (630) 501-1507.

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