The Travel Category

What Does The Age of Digitalization Mean for the Travel Services Buyer?

services sector

The role of today’s corporate travel manager or category manager is more demanding than ever. The manager must not only take responsibility for the travel budget, be a skilled negotiator, understand technology, leverage data and manage travel policies, contracts and compliance, but also deliver value to the organization. And of course, they must also keep the corporate traveller safe and be risk-aware. How can practitioners prepare to handle all of this and more?

Certify T&E Report: Business Travelers Go for Starbucks, Delta and Uber (But Lyft is Catching Up)

Oversight Systems

Travel and expenses management software provider Certify recently released its latest SpendSmart Report, analyzing business travel spending for Q3 2017. Lyft is experiencing impressive growth, while its ride-hailing rival Uber, as well as taxis and car rentals, are seeing declines. The data comes from 10 million business travel receipts and expenses that are processed via Certify’s system. Certify then analyzes the data by category, such as ground transportation, meals and lodging.

Easing the Pain of Hotel Booking and Travel Spend Management

services sector

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post by Julian Kulkarni, vice president of marketing at Roomex.

The lodging offered by your preferred supplier is 20% cheaper and you have never had any reason to doubt the quality of its service. But a senior sales executive insists that you book lodging at a swanky hotel that’s closer to a key account – otherwise the hot deal he is negotiating might be at risk. Trouble is, the more expensive hotel may not comply with your strict T&E policy. You just don’t know and you are having trouble getting answers. So, what do you do? It’s a classic procurement manager’s dilemma. You’d like to be flexible and make an exception, but if you are not careful, an exception can become the norm, and costs (both direct and indirect) spiral out of control.

Highlights from Across the Pond at Coupa Inspire 2017: A Fraud Detection Acquisition, Open Buy Launch and R19

Brexit

Coupa has acquired an AI fraud detection company and begun its official rollout of Open Buy with Amazon Business, our colleagues at Spend Matters UK/Europe reported from Coupa Inspire last week. The two announcements highlight Coupa’s recent push to integrate more advanced functionality into its spend management platform, from bringing sourcing optimization to a wider audience to enabling the elusive “guided buying” experience.

Managing Employee Spend Strategically

BuyerQuest

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Guy La Corte, general manager, Americas, at Concur.

Employees have access to and are spending more of your company’s money across more spend categories using more payment methods than ever before. And for finance and procurement managers, it’s increasingly challenging to track spending in a world where employees are paying supplier invoices directly with company checks; booking and managing travel directly on their mobile devices; using their corporate, ghost, virtual, corporate or even personal cards for just about everything; and vendors are marketing directly to them with upgrades and offers. This employee-initiated spend has become the largest unmanaged spend category in almost every company’s financial program.

New Research: Using Best Practices to Maximize Travel & Expense ROI

T&E

Travel and expense management goes beyond making sure employees aren’t submitting dubious expenses like, say, $1,000 toward adult entertainment or $80 worth of drinks to keep a spouse “calm and occupied” (both of which were real expenses, by the way, as reported by Inc.). According to a new London School of Economics report commissioned by Amadeus, companies can cut the cost of processing a transaction by more than 50% by actively managing T&E and implementing best practices.

Tying up T&E Loose Ends: T&E Meets Risk Management (Part 3) [Plus+]

In previous installments of this Plus series, we discussed the amount of risk companies face when deploying workers around the globe and what precautions the company and its workers must take. In Part 1, we specifically talked about duty of care provisions, and in Part 2 we continued his analysis of corporate travel risks. Today, we complete the series by offering a number of recommendations companies should take regarding T&E management.

Identifying And Responding to Risks Faced By A Global Workforce: T&E Meets Risk Management (Part 2) [Plus+]

What do companies need to be aware of when managing corporate travel and a global workforce? Spend Matters VP of Research Thomas Kase, who has experience working abroad and is our main source for T&E management, started this PRO series discussing the amount of risk a company faces when deploying workers around the globe, how much money a company should allocated to risk mitigation and what is required under duty of care provisions. You can check it out here. Here, in Part 2, Thomas continues this analysis of travel risks and corporate obligations.

Ubering After Dark — in Wisconsin

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines heavy drinking as 15 or more drinks for men and eight or more for women on a weekly basis. On average, 18% of American adults fall into this category, but the percentage is over 25% in Wisconsin. Some experts will tell you that the Germanic and Scandinavian ancestries of Wisconsin, Minnesota and North Dakota have something to do with it. And others will say that it’s the dreary weather.

Understanding “Duty of Care” When Managing Corporate Travel: T&E Meets Risk Management (Part 1) [Plus+]

travel

Vendors hawking T&E software that spans travel booking and expense management claim that it is not just about policy compliance, but that it is also about the risk management benefits of actually seeing where employees (or contractors) are and, in the event of an emergency, being able to provide support as quickly as possible. Enabling this level of visibility and guidance is not just good business practice; there is also a legal angle to it, which varies country by country (e.g., the menacing sounding “corporate manslaughter law” in the U.K.). But in certain cases, T&E software companies (e.g., Concur) might engage in a bit of fear mongering as a sales tactic, as well. The stick prompts many to action more effectively than any amount of carrot.

The risks exist, of course, and in this Spend Matters Plus brief we provide a primer on managing travel and the global corporate workforce, including the requirements and limits of duty of care provisions, as well as what procurement needs to know and how far it should consider going both as good business practice and under the law. 

Millennials Spend Less on Corporate Travel and Expenses, New Research Shows

travel

Millennials: big corporate spenders they still are not. According to Concur’s analysis of $36 billion in expenses that were processed through its travel expense management solution between Q1 2015 and Q1 2017, employees between the ages of 22 and 35 spend 18% less than those who are 36 or older. While it is likely that this generation’s corporate T&E spending patterns will evolve as the employees become older and more senior in their organizations, it is interesting to see how their current spending patterns differ from their older colleagues.

Insatiable Ride-Hailing Companies Bite into Rental Car Demand

cars

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Kayla Bruun, senior economist at IHS Markit.

Despite the seemingly favorable demand-driving conditions of a robust job market, low fuel prices and an upward trend in domestic travel spending, rates for U.S. passenger rental cars as measured by the producer price index have declined 31% since the third quarter of 2014. Concurrently, rising fleet costs attributable to a supply glut in the used car market are overwhelming rental car firms' cost savings from automation initiatives and low gas prices. This suggests that rental car prices are falling due to a mismatch between supply and market demand, not as a result of lower input costs flowing through.