Looking ahead, how companies managed T&E costs in the past just won’t work in this new era. In fact, separate TripActions and TravelPerk research show:
- 50 percent of employees don’t use the corporate travel solution of their employer
- Half of companies don’t have travel policies covering hybrid, flexible and remote work
- Business travel software can cost $25 per trip
None of that’s ideal for companies that need to move people between offices, projects, and events in smarter and more efficient ways than before. This wouldn’t be a problem if business travel was still on a global hiatus. But it’s not, as Ramp’s analysis of anonymized customer T&E data shows.
- Travel expenses for Ramp customers jumped from 2.2% of their card spend in January 2021 to 6.2% of spending in November 2021
- Travel spending in the same period rose sharply among companies with more than 250 employees
- While spending on taxis and ride shares increased from 4% in January 2021 to 8.2% in November 2021
It’s time to improve T&E management for teams, managers, and the finance department. Whether it’s through finance automation solutions or travel management software, businesses have some choices about how they manage corporate travel.
What is travel management software?
Travel management software (TMS) helps companies plan, track, and analyze company travel. TMS usually provide travel inventories, travel policies, reporting, auditing, and other services as well.
TMS enables companies to book and manage travel arrangements for employees, while also keeping track of expenses for those trips. TMS helps companies keep their travel policies enforceable and traceable, keeping employees accountable while on business trips.
Other key features and applications include corporate travel policy automation and the ability to integrate travel bills with accounting software for small businesses and multinationals.
18 best travel management software options for finance teams
Most travel booking software—or TMS— provides a single interface for employees to book flights, cars, and hotels for business travel. Typically, this includes negotiated rates, traveler rewards, and co-traveling insights.
With so many corporate travel management options to choose from, be sure to assess each vendor against your bigger picture financial management goals, such as expense management, revenue generation, and profit. This can be done using a vendor scorecard. With that in mind, here are some of the most well-known platforms.
1. SAP Concur
SAP Concur is the world's largest provider of integrated travel, expense, and invoice management solutions. With SAP Concur, a top-rated app accompanies employees through every journey, and invoice approvals are automated. Businesses may avoid budget gaps by integrating near real-time data and employing artificial intelligence to check their transactions.
SalesTrip is a Salesforce cost management and travel booking solution that enables people to conduct work from locations other than their homes and offices. Employees benefit from a simple and fast approach to managing and claiming travel expenses alongside customer and revenue data in Salesforce.
Emburse automates tedious operations, improves expenditure control and visibility, and provides free support. Emburse Certify Expense has an integrated spend request and card issuing workflow, embedded audit features, and mobile receipt capturing.
TravelPerk reduces the pain of business travel by offering the broadest inventory of booking options globally, at competitive rates. It provides 24/7 customer support and all trips are refundable with their FlexiPerk program.
Pairsoft simplifies travel management by providing a booking engine that displays travel content for your employees. It synchronizes all travel information with the tool's expense solution and incorporates a company’s travel policy for negotiating airlines, hotels, and car rentals.
TravelBank is an all-in-one expenditure and business travel management tool. Its user-friendly design, timely expenditure reimbursements, and travel reward program help companies to establish and deploy cost and travel rules. TravelBank provides both a mobile and desktop tool.
Egencia is a TMS that includes tools for expenditure reporting, a mobile app for convenience, administrator access, and client invoicing. Egencia also provides country-level information about travel policy settings during the pandemic.
Rydoo allows customers to snap and control expenses in real-time from anywhere in the world. Accounting software, such as Oracle, Xero, Quickbooks integrate with Rydoo. The platform also has integrations with Uber and Lyft, to make it easier for employees to arrange transfers from the airport.
TripActions uses reporting, booking management, and invoicing capabilities to help businesses automate corporate travel. Approval workflow, cost reporting, reminders, vacation planning, and mobile access are other features. TripActions allows teams to issue invitations to guests and candidates for travel bookings. You can also track budget and annual spending on a dashboard.
With Deem, travel managers can personalize programs and increase travel policy compliance. With Etta, Deem’s set of online trip booking and management tools, users are encouraged to make good spending decisions. Deem also integrates with many travel agencies.
This cloud-based TMS helps enterprises manage expense reporting lifecycles, invoices, and T&E reimbursements. With Expensya, employees can use image recognition to pull amounts, dates, and merchant information from their T&E receipts.
12. AirBnB for Work
Airbnb for Work promises to make it easier to book and manage travel for your company with access to global listings short and extended work trips. It’s not a dedicated TMS, but the solution does offer some of the same features, such as bookings, shared payment methods, and spend tracking.
Yokoy, founded as Expense Robot in March 2019, went live with its first customers in September 2019. Yokoy’s expense tool works with artificial intelligence and is directly integrated with some financial software. Yokoy offers a prepaid Mastercard and the ability to generate virtual cards directly.
Fyle promises to help employees comply with your business T&E policy, while giving finance teams credit card management and receipt management software to control total T&E expenditure. Some of Fyle’s other travel management features include a mileage tracker, split employee expenses, per diems, and trip reports.
Spendesk is an expense management solution that helps companies to book work trips, track employee spending, and automate expense reports. Like other TMS we’ve mentioned, Spendesk allows users to request approval from management and book securely on any website.
16. Zoho Expense
As part of the wide-ranging suite of Zoho software, Zoho Expense helps customers to manage all the stages of employees’ business trips. Customers can make travel and hotel bookings, set up pre-travel approvals, create detailed travel itineraries, set up and traveller profiles.
One of Expensify’s main features is the ability to book flights, hotels, and cars by starting a chat with a concierge. Expensify’s travel management solution has a number of features for business travel in the COVID-era, including medical advisories, emergency transportation, and travel risk services. Take note that the solution lets employees book with their preferred airline, hotel, and frequent flyer program—which may have implications for reining in total T&E spend.
Circula's expense management app helps companies manage per diems, cash expenses, travel expenses, and out-of-pocket expenses for trips. The solution offers employee benefits features, alongside its travel management features, which include budget rules, corporate cards, and automated compliance checks.
What many travel solutions are missing in 2022
There are so many choices for businesses and finance leaders looking to manage travel expenses in a modern and efficient way. But unfortunately, many travel solutions limit your T&E management options and end up costing the company more money and the finance team more time. Common complaints about travel solutions include:
- Limited financial automation: Older solutions may lack the ability to automate key trip activities, like employee travel requests and line manager approvals. They may also still require your accounting team to manually reconcile certain categories of T&E spend
- Poor employee experience: Other solutions force travelers to use clunky proprietary platforms, limiting travel options and creating a poor user experience
- Manual expense reports: Manual expense reports, reconciliation and limited spend controls – e.g. no card or merchant-level restrictions
- Scaling travel is costly: Other solutions often charge per traveler and even as much as $25 per trip
Not all TMS are created with the same rigorous focus on spend management as other financial management software. Some direct employees to read the corporate travel policy on a PDF handout or internal ‘wiki’, while others let employees book their vacation on any website without much oversight, and then submit a manual expense reimbursement request.
How an automation-driven finance management solution can help your travel management
Most TMS vendors claim numerous advantages to using their platforms. Saving time and money in finance and accounting, preventing fraud, and increasing data visibility are just a few of them. But it’s important to dig deeper when exploring your options for an end-to-end solution.
Corporate travel management can be slow, time-intensive and stressful for managers and employees alike, especially when they’re already busy planning the actual core work their trip will entail. Let’s remember why most employees travel for work in the first place. They do it to meet customers, to influence prospects and partners at trade shows, or to work on priority projects with colleagues in another office location.
The best corporate expense management software will do much more than help with business travel planning and purchasing, it will help you drive better financial outcomes for the business.
Here is how a great spend management solution can be a driver of operational efficiencies, finance department productivity and efficiency—and company-wide spend management rigor.
Better T&E tracking and analysis
A travel management system helps to keep all the information for the entire company's travel expenses in one location, for easy access by financial departments. It also helps to keep budgets on track. Historically, employees would turn in expense reports from their travels and receive reimbursement.
With modern spend management software, finance teams can speed the process up and completely remove the need for complicated reimbursement flows. When travel expenditures are presented in a more transparent and precise manner, you can reduce hidden costs by tracking trips in real-time.
Big savings on hotel and flight bookings
When everyone starts booking trips in the right places, you get consolidated travel data that will help you figure out how much your company spends on travel. You’ll begin to understand how people travel to make smart decisions that will help you save money on a macro level. You become empowered to negotiate the accommodation and airfare process. You start to filter bad deals for better ones that meet your preferences—such as specific hotel star ratings allowing you to control how much is spent on accommodation.
Travel partners employees will value
This not only opens up the possibility of good deals, but it also opens the door to great partnerships. And that’s where savings and spend management can begin to scale very quickly. A decade ago, it might take companies years to learn that employees often use a certain car rental service, so they could ask for group discounts.
Now, you can work with a spend management solution that does this legwork for you, through existing travel partnerships that complement your T&E policies. Partnerships can help you to:
- Give employees one place to book travel with services for trip management
- Manage employee travel at scale with complete visibility and the flexibility to book anywhere
- Give employees the flexibility to book travel using their favorite apps—like Lyft and Uber—while centralizing spend controls
Limits for airfares and accommodation
Yes, a good TMS will help you find savings and discounts through partnerships and employee education. But an all-encompassing spend management solution can go further, by giving you the ability to put stronger checks and balances on what hotels and flights employees can—and can’t— book.
It’s T&E best practice to limit flights to economy class unless an employee receives express written approval. To secure the best possible rates, employees should be limited to making reservations as far in advance as possible. There should also be reasonable limits to spending on meals, too. Think $15 for breakfast, $20 for lunch, and $40 for dinner—but bear in mind that not every destination shares the same cost of living.
Improved T&E policy compliance
Companies need clear policies on accommodation, airfares, meals, and team entertainment for business travelers. But policies alone aren't enough. Great reporting dashboards will enable managers to monitor and trace the root reasons for non-compliance with T&E rules. Managers can easily identify areas where most users struggle to comply and recommend relevant remedial actions.
Spend management solutions designed for the new business travel era should help your employees grasp your T&E policy quickly, without having to wade through pages of PDF text.
This will help you keep your bottom line healthy by always providing your most important policy points at just a click away. They could look a little like this:
- Don’t: Book any plane seats above economy class unless you get express written approval from senior management in finance
- Do: Make your flight reservations as far in advance as possible, and we suggest at least two weeks prior notice
- Don’t: Base flight and airline choices on your preferred air carrier or frequent flier program, but in the cost of the trip and convenience of the flight
- Do: Pay for in-flight internet access if you will be working throughout the flight
Spend management becomes a team activity when your TMS makes it easy for employees to see what they can and can’t do for the most common T&E costs.
Productivity gains for finance
And then there are the productivity payoffs. You know more than we do that expense management is a tedious and slow process. Managing travel spending can be even more burdensome for finance teams, who are already juggling workloads around month-end-close, earnings calls, and financial forecasting.
A well-chosen spend management solution, like Ramp, can do a lot of the heavy lifting on travel expense management for you. With the right business trip rules, the right T&E policy, and the right process for people to easily book trips, finance teams can turn their focus to other priorities.
How to get the most out of your travel management software
Business travel is resurgent. After being curtailed by the pandemic, it’s going to roar back in the coming years. But so much of the software businesses use to book travel is rigid. It often creates, not cuts, wasteful spending. Businesses and finance leaders need something different.
If you are unimpressed with archaic corporate travel platforms that are expensive to run and unenjoyable to use, Ramp can provide you with the necessary intelligence—and control—of your T&E spending for the years ahead. Our new solution, Ramp for Travel, lets employees book anywhere with all the control and visibility of a travel solution. You can:
- Digitize your T&E policy: Create policies with category limits and per diems. Empower managers with instant alerts when employees spend out-of-policy
- Book trips on the best sites: Give employees the freedom to book anywhere they want, simplify corporate travel booking with Ramp’s easy-to-use and intuitive browser extension, and get 1.5% cashback on bookings
- Handle itinerary changes: Companies and employees need to know they’ve got a safety net when the best-laid trip plans need to change. Ramp’s Slack integration lets employees quickly get spending authorization on the road
- See all trips and spend: See every active employee trip in one dashboard with complete itineraries, view all their travel expenses grouped by category, and get instant alerts when employees spend out-of-policy
Business travel can be better for finance teams to manage than before, with corporate cards and T&E management that helps employees book (and claim) travel easily, while the finance team saves time and money for itself and the business.
Discover Ramp for Travel today.
Business travel was never going to be the same as before, since life and work were transformed across a chaotic start to this decade. Now, employees are advised to only go on the most important business trips. And companies only want to pay for the business travel that makes real inroads towards their operational goals.